Friday, 10 October 2008

Sleep patterns and aliens

Polysomnography the title of Brett Dean's new composition for piano and wind quintet is a scientific term to do with research into sleep patterns. With the help of sensors placed on the human body the various stages of sleep can be monitored. In short, the five elements making up Dean's composition follow the five stages of sleep. Theta Waves signal the first period of light sleep. Myoclonus and Sleep Spindles lead into quiet Delta Wave sleep. Dream Sequence follows. And then, not in Dean's composition, Awakening. On paper it looks like this:
Music for piano and wind quintet (2007) (15')
Theta Waves (slow, mysterious)
Myoclonus (fast, excited, tense)
Sleep Spindles (slow, spacious, mysterious)
Delta Waves (quiet, flowing)
Dream Sequence (restless)
Performed by Lars Vogt (piano) and the Wien-Berlin Ensemble which had begun de rigueur, conservatively enough albeit with humour and aplomb, a little light Mozart in the Mozart Saal of the Vienna Concert House; Lars Vogt's rapid fingers and his restrained elegance at the Steinway, the musicians leaning backwards and forwards like cafe´ regulars discussing newspapers, it sounded, when they got around to Polysomnography like this:
First it makes the audience nervous. It would fit well to H G Wells' War of the Worlds is the first impression. This is quickly followed by a kind of NY downtown music. Traffic lights stop/start blocks of traffic. Then someone walks alone down a dank dark street with alleys on both sides from which come strange, mysterious sounds. The Martians now emerge from their alien craft parked on a waste lot. A few at first, then a lot of them against a bright light, and then a few again. Small animals, perhaps rats scurry away, some pause to glance back but quickly scurry on. There are more strange sounds. Somewhere someone's cat is being slowly strangled. Some large military vehicles rumble in. A war breaks out. Zoom forward to a sunrise in the future. Only one rat remains. It trots around. Sniffs. It's the hope for the future. The alien craft is long gone. Only dying radio signals remain.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.