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Das hat Rrrrasss

Pace, I. ORCID: 0000-0002-0047-9379 (2018). Das hat Rrrrasss


RESEARCH STATEMENT IAN PACE, Das hat Rrrrasss (2018, based in part upon some sketches from 2005)

Das hat Rrrrasss originated in a preoccupation with the intersection between seemingly innocuous ‘camp’ culture and snobbery, domination and dehumanisation. I found my major stimulus for this in an outrageous satirical letter from Ephraim Kishon to King Hussein of Jordan, published six days after the 1967 Six-Day War, which enabled the truth to be simultaneously asserted and erased. My basic question was how to embody the humour and nonchalance of Kishon’s letter (which informed my text), whilst providing a musical representation of and commentary upon the underlying drama and its associated violence and cruelty. I sought inspiration through two arias from Lehár’s Die lustige Witwe, both associated with privilege and outrage. Using post-Finnissy ‘cut-up’ techniques, I generated a gamut of fragments from this and some more abstract gestures, which were permuted to generate a post-tonal overlay of high material with a free retrograde of the first Léhar aria in shifting tonalities and registers, together with veiled fragments from the song ‘Jerusalem the Golden’, both ‘said’ and ‘not said’. As the material proceeded, I made a new layer derived from Richard Strauss (a type of ‘poisoned decadence’) morphing into Bartók’s acerbic allusion to Shostakovich in the Concerto for Orchestra, to dissolve into a mini-climax of boisterousness with elements of violence. From an earlier free sketches I derived some more ‘neutral’ chordal/gestural material, which became the basis for the hushed introduction, hinting at the Shostakovich/Bartók figurations, and providing a ‘launch-pad’ to spring into the material into the high registers. It was then straightforward to generate new chordal and linear material from these two sections so as to create some unity with the texturally divergent passages which follow, which convey waiting and ‘action’. To achieve a sense of partial reprise in the final section, I combined the second Lehár aria polyrhythmically with post-tonal fragments from Wagner’s Tannhäuser in a state of developmental flux, but also so that the Lehár chorus could be made to morph into a blaring siren-like form of near-cacophony.

Publication Type: Composition
Additional Information: © Ian Pace, 2018. World premiere: Alwynne Pritchard, voice; Ian Pace, piano. City, University of London, 27 November 2018.
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
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