|2008||De Aragon Cida, Moore Ian, Vella Richard John, Scott-Mitchell Anthea, Scott Nathan, Back to the City, backtothecity.com.au, Newcastle, NSW (2008) [F1]|
|2007||VELLA R J, Renzo Piano Suite’ in Video Circus, Brisbane (2007) [J2]|
Renzo Piano: Piece by Piece, a composition for chamber ensemble and video, celebrates the Italian architect Renzo Piano. It is the composers re-edit of five musical cues from the original documentary. Documentary films in Australia are predominantly made for television broadcast. This typically results in the music being relegated to the margins, having little individuality in the film/music dialogue. In mainstream Australian film, music is rarely considered autonomous. Sometimes this occurs in experimental films or in films that respect the dramaturgical role of the music. Studies of the role of music in documentaries remain scarce. Wahlberg (2008) has little to say about music, adopting a contemporary phenomenological approach to image and time in documentary film.
The composers edit of the original film investigates non mainstream approaches to film music exploring a sensory relation between music and image. It liberates music from its mainstream conventional role, allowing it to function as a primary perceptual element and narrative vehicle. Non-synchronous relationships to image, enable the music to explore analogy evoking the architects sense of light, space and density. The viewer experiences a quasi-synesthesic relationship with the image, editing and music. This provides insights into the phenomenology of imagination, by exploring the further possibilities of sound/image and spatial relationships, in film and video-making outside the mainstream.
Some of the original music is freely available on the web via various downloads (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7IxSd2NsRM). The commissioning group Topology won the AMC award for Outstanding Contribution by an Organisation, 2008. This included Renzo Piano: Piece by Piece.
|2006||VELLA R J, The A to Z of Spiritual Music: a user's guide, Sydney (2006) [J1]|
The A to Z of Spiritual music: a users guide is an online collection of composition combining texts with live and sampled recordings. Discussions on the spiritual in music are linked to specific religious and denominational uses of music, or evocations of a deity (Beck 2006).
The A to Z investigates representations of the spiritual through words and music. It does not deify music but catalogues devices and various states associated with meaningfulness and transcendence. It does not refer to values which are more aligned to morality or institutional approaches to spirituality. It treats the spiritual as ones engagement with life.
The output uses the list format similar to a dictionary. The random-access nature of internet-based hypertext foregrounds and amplifies post-modern tensions between form and content. It demonstrates novel approaches to narrative, performance delivery and large form, by capitalising on the interactive nature of an online environment. Much discussion is devoted to the narrative and formal possibilities opened up by new media technologies (Bassett, 2008; Ryan, 2003). As a demonstration of possibilities in an internet-based delivery of a music-centered work, The A to Z explores phenomenological and semiological relationships between words and music.
The A to Z due to its expansive dictionary form, orients itself more towards exegetical analysis via hermeneutics, than traditional harmonic/melodic/formal analytical approaches. The work aligns with those who advocate the use of post-modern hermeneutic and cross-disciplinary approaches to analysis in music (Kramer, 1992, 2004; Cook, 2006). It was featured in the ABCs magazine Limelite December, 2006
|2004||VELLA R, 'Sonata' for Violoncello and piano, -, Sydney (2004) [F1]|
Sonata is a chamber work for Violoncello and Piano. The cello repertoire is extensive. Lambooij and Feves (2007) list approximately 45,000 works titles for cello over the last 300 years. The 20th century cello repertoire is marked by landmarks, such as Debussys Cello Sonata (1915), and Carters Sonata for Cello and Piano (1948). These landmarks present many challenges for the 21st century composer. It begs the question, how can a composer today contribute to the cello sonata repertoire within the context of the chamber music genre and its many investigations?
Drawing on famous 20th century cello repertoire, Sonata compiles techniques associated with these works. Because these works are so iconic, the slightest reference to their famous motives, gestures, etc, could be heard as a quotation or pastiche. Sonata re-casts the role of composer as a mediator of recovered cultural sound memories. This approach is different from postmodern ironic practices of quotation, allusion and parody (Hutcheon, 2000).
Successful repertoire for any instruments is based on idiomatic understanding of the instruments combined with the placement of these idiomatic gestures in reinvigorated contexts such as harmony or rhythm. Using variation techniques, Sonata places idiomatic cello gestures into new contexts such as modern modal jazz references; symmetrical harmonic organisation; Elliott Carters approach to temporal simultaneity; minimalist textures; cadenza passages from the 19th century. The result is a reinvigoration and expansion the cello repertoire. Sonata was recorded, produced and broadcasted by ABC Classic FM in celebration of the composers 50th birthday 2004.
|2004||VELLA R, Mirrors of Fire, Sydney (2004) [J2]|
Mirrors of Fire (MoF) is a classical guitar solo. The practice of reinvigorating classical music by borrowing from popular music forms is not new. Bakhtin (1984) argues that the continual excursions into the popular are essential for classical aesthetic to be sustainable.
The classical guitar tradition is arguably the more conservative of guitar cultures. The present-day frontiers of guitar-playing virtuosity and technical brilliance, once associated with the classical guitar genre, are now more often found in the realms of progressive rock and heavy metal (Walser, 1992, 1993; Waksman, 2001), and global guitar cultures (Coelho, 2003; Bennett and Dawe, 2001). The research examines ways concert repertoire for classical guitar can incorporate the vitality and stylistic idiosyncrasies of popular music for guitar. Furthermore, in what ways can polyrhythm extend the technique of the guitarist and the boundaries of virtuosity?
MoF extends polyrhythmic technique for guitar playing with the introduction of right hand polyrhythmic fingering over contrapuntal lines fingered by the left hand (eg bars 6-10). While composers have sometimes explored polyrhythmic fingering on the solo classical guitar (eg Britten (1963); Bogdanovic (1990)), the technique is difficult to execute and not often encountered in the repertoire.
The work merges together various styles into a unified whole: moto perpetuo bass lines throughout; contrapuntal technique in the left and right hands (bars 75-79); flamenco (bars 86-96); power chord gestures (bars 103-107). The score to MoF is published by Currency Press (Sydney). The work is recognised as repertoire for the guitar virtuoso (http://members.iinet.net.au/~tallpoppies/t2.cgi?169)
|2003||VELLA R, Sounds in Space, Sounds in Time, Boosey and Hawkes, London, 240 (2003) [A4]|