Marco Stroppa (1959)
I will not kiss your f.ing flag (2005)
for trombone and chamber electronics
electronic work, Ircam
- General information
- Duration: 22 mn
- Publisher: Ricordi, Milan, nº 139584
- Commission: festival Wittener Tage 2005
- Composition date: 2005
- Solo (excluding voice) [Trombone]
22 April 2005
Allemagne, festival de Witten
Information on the electronics
Studio information: Ircam. Trombone augmenté : Emmanuel Fléty, Frédéric Bevilacqua, Alain Terrier
RIM (réalisateur(s) en informatique musicale): Serge Lemouton
Electronic device: temps réel, spatialisation
Écouter un extrait : https://medias.ircam.fr/xa63f9c_i-will-not-kiss-your-fing-flag-marco-strop
Table of contents
_’i sing of Olaf’ (with talking hands). Vivido, ribelle
Third work of a cycle exploring the concept of "chamber electronics", this work follows Auras (percussion) and little i (flute). The aim of "chamber electronics", a term of my invention, is to create a sort of intimate relationship between a solo instrument and another invisible presence, the instrument’s imaginary partners.
A great deal of research was pursued at IRCAM to realise an augmented trombone : through a laser, the position of the slide can be detected and sent to a computer. Hence, the instrument can control various aspects of the electronics by simply moving the slide, even without playing.
As in the other pieces of the cycle, a specific care was taken to design the space within which both the performer and the electronics evolve. The trombonist stands in six different positions, sometimes turning his back to the audience. At the end of the piece, one tube is also taken away, allowing for a double projection, in front and behind the instrument.
The electronics uses three front channels and generates a space around them thanks to the “spat”, special software designed at IRCAM by the team of Olivier Warusfel. Different sorts of patterns are hence generated : echoes, multiplication, bi-dimensional movements (left-right) combined with three-dimensional figures evolving in several layers of depth, separation of the visible source, the trombone, from the “sound” source, that is where its sound comes out from, tunnel effects (in the centre, front-rear), and so on.
The role of the electronics is multifarious : as a chamber-music partner it generates an independent material coming from either synthesis techniques or processed trombone sounds, controlled by a special system (called Chroma) that Serge Lemouton and I have been designing for several years. This system is running in the computer-assisted compositional environment Open Music, developed at IRCAM by Carlos Agon and Gérard Assayag. The control of the space from Open Music to the spat was realised by Gilbert Nouno.
The musical architecture of the work, divided into six sections, closely follows the placement of the performer on the stage. The material, for both the trombone and the electronics, consists of several models coming from the ethnomusicological tradition, transformed in such a way that they are no longer directly perceptible, such as the trumps of the Wayapy of French Guyana or Central Africa Pigmy, or a gipsy Serbian brass band.
Many researchers were involved in the realisation of this work. I wish to thank all of them, as well as the IRCAM Production team, for the opportunity I was given to test and implement the musical ideas set forth during the composition.
The title comes from a line of a very famous poem of E. E.Cummings (“i sing of Olaf glad and big”), the thirtieth in the collection W [ViVa] written in 1931. This line was censored when the poem was first published (hence: “f.ing”). As Richard S. Kennedy pointed out, “it is an antiwar poem that is thematically connected with Cummings’ hostility toward government and authority. The poem is the story of the torture, imprisonment, and death of a conscientious objector during the Great War”, but it could have also taken place nowadays, for instance, at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo or Facility 1391.
Part of its icy irony is brought about by Cummings’ having used an irregularly rhymed tetrameter doggerel for such a terrible story. I used the same technique in the fast sections of the piece, and particularly in the fourth movement, where the hand of the performer acting on the waa-waa mute is trying to “recite” the poem itself.
There is a double reason for using this: the first one is musical, since many aspects of the poem, especially its rhythmical structure, were used in the preparation of the musical material. The second is political: "in the current world plagued by widespread hostilities, I wanted to "fling" out the protest of a respected citizen and famous poet of the United States, the country whose present administration has been and is the most atrocious warmonger the planet has ever known."