WNMF 1: Digital Landscapes Program Notes



Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 7:30 pm CST
Centennial Concert Hall

Eliot Britton – Hyperscale Landscape (2020)

Naomi Woo, piano
Ben Reimer, percussion
Eliot Britton, video

“The piece uses machine learning, to integrate and animate microscopic video and audio, pulling harmony from the hidden drama unfolding around us, beyond our scale of perception. It draws together and celebrates the patterns, connections and stories embedded in Alberta’s southern prairie. I pull together materials and manipulate them using machine learning processes mixed with pop inflected harmony and a flexible score. From the eerie forest within a tuft of sage grass to the wind-swept horizon capped with a shifting prairie sky. A melody embedded within a millisecond of cricket call mimics thunder rolling through the valley. Everything unfolds in its own time. This piece leverages micro and macro scales to tell the story of land unfolding beyond the fringes of human perception. Hyperscale Landscape is the result of time spent with my friends Leroy Little Bear, Amethyst First Rider and Erin Thrall, who have taken the time to share their profound respect for and connection to their unique prairie grassland ecosystem.” – Eliot Britton

Nicole Lizée – Katana of Choice (2014)

Ben Reimer, drum set
Nicole Lizée, video

Originally commissioned for TorQ Percussion with le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Their recording of Lizée’s piece, featuring Ben Reimer, was nominated for a 2019 JUNO for ‘Classical Composition of the Year.’

Michael Oesterle – Eulerian Dances (2013)
I – Waltzing
II – Strolling
III – Slow, hesitant
IV – Fast and energetic

Gwen Hoebig, violin
Karl Stobbe, violin
Margruite Krahn, visual artist
Roland Deschambault, video artist

Michael Oesterle’s Eulerian Dances, is based on the work of Leonhard Euler, who in 1735 laid the foundations of graph theory while solving the famous mathematics problem of the “Seven Bridges of Königsberg.” His elegant solution, the Eulerian path, is a trail in which each vertex of a graph has an even degree and each edge is visited only once, starting and ending at the same point.

WSO concertmaster Gwen Hoebig and associate concertmaster Karl Stobbe recorded a video performance of this work last spring.

“In this piece I imagine the two violins at opposite ends of a line, indelibly linked but forever stretched apart,” says Stobbe. “They move around each other, creating a pattern, a dance which describes a path that, although it can be followed multiple times, forever finds itself returning to the same vertex.”

Harry Stafylakis – Therein Lies the Enemy (2021)
Canadian Premiere

Ben Reimer, drum set
Toby Kuhn & Harry Stafylakis, video

“It amazes me that we are all on Twitter and Facebook. By ‘we’ I mean adults. We’re adults, right? But emotionally we’re a culture of seven-year-olds. Have you ever had that moment when you are updating your status and you realize that every status update is just a variation on a single request: ‘Would someone please acknowledge me?'” ― Marc Maron, Attempting Normal

“I favour humans over ideology, but right now the ideologues are winning, and they’re creating a stage for constant artificial high dramas, where everyone is either a magnificent hero or a sickening villain. We can lead good, ethical lives, but some bad phraseology in a Tweet can overwhelm it all – even though we know that’s not how we should define our fellow humans. What’s true about our fellow humans is that we are clever and stupid. We are grey areas.

And so … when you see an unfair or an ambiguous shaming unfold, speak up on behalf of the shamed person. A babble of opposing voices – that’s democracy.

The great thing about social media was how it gave a voice to voiceless people. Let’s not turn it into a world where the smartest way to survive is to go back to being voiceless.” ― Jon Ronson, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

“Distracted from distraction by distraction” ― T.S. Eliot

This piece was composed in the early months of the pandemic. It is a meditation on and reaction to the interminably increasing scale of vitriol, partisanship, bad faith / straw man / ad hominem argumentation, and outright trolling that permeates the cultural landscape.

In its small way, it is a plea for personal accountability and nuance.

Therein Lies the Enemy was composed for percussionist Lisa Pegher and ICEBERG New Music.

— HS | www.hstafylakis.com