LOVE SONGS (1979)


for voice and tape with text by Norbert Ruebsaat

I. The Words

II. Origins of Song

III. The Face

Love Songs is the result of a collaboration with Norbert Ruebsaat in order to explore through language and song the concept of love when it struggles free of traditional sexism. The first part, subtitled 'The Words', presents the dramatic force of the conflict between the sexes and between aspects of herself, as the soloist switches between male and female roles. The accompanying tape combines noise elements with male and female voices and voice fragments, all derived from the recorded voice of the Dutch singer Ileana Melita.

The second section is a ten-part song cycle called 'Origins of Song'. Here the singer, now in a lyrical role, becomes the story-teller of beginnings, of the creative force of the word, of the development of landscape and animal life, of the emergence of human consciousness, sensuality and love, and finally of music as a metaphor for the entire process. The opening song of each subgroup is somewhat traditional in form, the first being modal, the sixth tonal; the others use whole tone and twelve tone techniques, and the tenth was composed with the aid of the same computer program that was used to organize and produce the accompanying tape sounds. These sounds suggest environmental images in a continually changing texture that accompanies the singer.

In the last section, 'The Face', the conflict of the beginning has been resolved as the persona created by the soloist speaks with a new assurance of her sexuality and her entire being. She recognizes in a singing voice the androgyne living within her. The accompanying tape environment uses the same elements as that of the first part, filtered noise and the soloist's voice, except that here they harmonize over a 60 Hz resonant drone. The voice heard on tape is that of the soloist transposed down to a very low range such that the harmonics in the voice are in the singing range of the live performer.

The work, composed between December 1978 and May 1979, is dedicated to Ileana Melita and Norbert Ruebsaat.

Love Songs is available on the Melbourne album Androgyne.


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