for three voices
February-July 2012; no fixed duration
*audio and video coming soon*
Premiere: Anna Papagiannaki-Divani, Ana Fernandez and James Whittle, University of York recital, 12th September 2012.
Dedicated to Juice Vocal Ensemble, who workshopped the piece in 2012.
In Hindu philosophy, ahamkara is ‘the faculty for the unfolding or manifestation of a “self.”’ Vocal ensembles will often aim to sound like one voice: a homogenous, multi-faceted, “blended” sound. I became fascinated with this idea in relation to images of the Hindu god Brahma, who is depicted as a figure with four heads, four faces and four arms – each symbolising a particular trait of Brahma and pointing in one of the four cardinal directions. These heads and faces are joined together as the four sides of one body, so that from whichever perspective they are viewed, only three heads and faces can be seen at once. Yet, the fourth is present, and known to be present.
This piece is also inspired by Surrealist philosophy, and ‘the unconscious reality in the personality of the group’ (as Nicolas Calas described the automatic writing game, Le cadavre exquis, which André Breton and his fellow poets would play, creating nonsensical juxtapositions of ideas and images). The metaphor of an anoetic fourth voice existing, possibly that ‘unconscious reality’, allows the piece to unfold. The score is a mind-map of texts, assimilated through memory, chance and coincidence. Performers choose to be either independent, or dependent on responding to each other. There may be movements, there may be silences.