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by Various Artists

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The music released on this album was composed and performed over the years 2019–2021 within the framework of the artistic research project »On the fragility of sounds«.
This project listened into intersections of contemporary composition, music theatre, and feminist practice from a unique position: from the position of the artist themselves while being at work.

As the title indicates, possible themes for this compositional exploration were interactions, relationships, and interferences between sounds and space, movement, bodies, cultures, and politics. What are we exploring when we approach sounds as fragile?
The artists Electric Indigo a.k.a. Susanne Kirchmayr, Elaine Mitchener, Elisabeth Schimana and Séverine Ballon were invited to compose and realise music around the fragility of sounds - alongside the initiator and main researcher of this project, composer/performer Pia Palme. All of them were informed about the theme and chose their unique, individual approach. They were free to determine the format and duration of their piece while observing their own process.

In cooperation with the composers, the ensemble Schallfeld, based in Graz, Austria performed, premiered, and recorded the commissioned ensemble works featured on this album. Due to the pandemic crisis, composers had to communicate online at times, and some of the works could not be performed in public.

In this singular research setting, the artistic process of the composer/performers themselves was at the core of this exploration. Anchored to the Center of Gender Studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, the project was conducted by Palme in collaboration with the musicologist and cultural worker Christina Fischer-Lessiak, with funding by the FWF Austrian Science Fund (PEEK AR537) and additional monies from the Mariann Steegmann Foundation and the Land Steiermark (Province of Styria). Further research associations included the theatre scholar Irene Lehmann. Palme also composed pieces for music theatre, such as WECHSELWIRKUNG (2020), which are not covered in Ventil’s album.

One could say, the processes of the artists Palme, Schimana, Mitchener, Kirchmayr, and Ballon, composing and realising their music, served as living case studies for »On the fragility of sounds«. It was central that the composers themselves would reflect on their own practice and observations. Interviews, panel discussions, lectures, and concert talks offered platforms for communication, discourse, and exchange.

The book »Sounding Fragilities. An Anthology« (Lehmann & Palme 2022) published by Wolke offers insights into the field of exploration and the research findings, featuring over twenty contributions by composers, performers, musicologists, and theatre scholars—including, for example, Malik Sharif, Chaya Czernowin, Liza Lim, Gérman Toro Pérez, Suvani Suri, and Veza Fernández. Artist Susanne Kirchmayr wrote her essay »The development of Brittle. On the delicacies of minerals« about her work as composer/performer for this anthology.


released June 15, 2022

Elaine Mitchener - Owner’s Manual (2020/2021)
for ensemble
realised by Schallfeld in two versions Form and Free
conducted by Leonhard Garms
performed by Schallfeld Ensemble:
Szilárd Benes (cl), Lorenzo Derinni (vln), Francesca Piccioni (vla), Myriam Garcia Fidalgo (vlc), Margarethe Maierhofer-Lischka (db), Maria Flavia Cerrato (pft)
recorded, mixed and mastered by Stefan Warum

Elisabeth Schimana - Virus #3.5 Schatten (2020/2021)
for bass clarinet, double bass, piano, electronics
performed by Elisabeth Schimana (elec) & Schallfeld Ensemble:
Szilárd Benes (bcl), Margarethe Maierhofer-Lischka (db), Maria Flavia Cerrato (pft)
recorded, mixed and mastered by Stefan Warum

Séverine Ballon - Au travers des paupières closes (2020/2021)
for vcl solo, vln, vla, vlc, db
performed by Séverine Ballon (vlc solo) & Schallfeld Ensemble:
Lorenzo Derinni (vln), Francesca Piccioni (vla), Myriam Garcia Fidalgo (vlc), Margarethe Maierhofer-Lischka (db)
live-recorded and mastered by Stefan Warum

Electric Indigo - Brittle (2021)
for electronics
performed and recorded by Electric Indigo
mastered by Martin Siewert

Pia Palme - Kreidebleich (2019-21)
for harpsichord with optional video
performed by Sonja Leipold (hpd)
recorded, mixed and mastered by Lukas Turnovsky, Treehouse Studios Vienna

Pia Palme - More Radically (2019)
for mezzo, bass recorder and spoken voice
Text and concept by Pia Palme
realised by Rosie Middleton (mezzo) and Pia Palme (bass recorder & voice)
recorded, mixed and mastered at Banff Centre of the Arts Studios

Pia Palme - Eins & Doppelt (2019/2020)
for two oboe da caccia instruments
performed by Molly McDolan and Ana Inés Feola (oboe da caccia)
recorded, mixed and mastered by Christoph Amann, Amann Studios Vienna

Pia Palme - Weiterung (2021)
for ensemble with brec solo & spoken voice
Text by Pia Palme
performed by Pia Palme (bass recorder, spoken voice). Séverine Ballon (vlc) & Schallfeld Ensemble:
Lorenzo Derinni (vln), Francesca Piccioni (vla), Myriam Garcia Fidalgo (vlc), Margarethe Maierhofer-Lischka (db)
live-recorded and mastered by Stefan Warum

Website: www.fragilityofsounds.org


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Ventil Records Vienna, Austria

Ventil Records is a Vienna based Record Label founded in 2015. Focusing on adventurous music, Ventil Records works on the dissemination, realization and enforcement of unique artistic projects.

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