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Composed by Joanne Cannon, software by Stuart Favilla, this work for improviser/s and interactive computer algorithms takes a performer/s and the audience through a 17 year history of Joanne's leukemia. Players navigate a complex map of musical events which document personal experiences of the disease, desperate contingencies, treatment, and long lasting effects. "This is a musical Tour deForce" Michael Kieran Harvey

Speak is an interactive sound-experience piece for 2 to five chamber improvisers. The piece was inspired by the game-style works of Stockhausen, Gelhard and Zorn and seeks to immerse the participating musicians deep within the material/process connecting to the experience of the subject matter.

Graphic Score, music, MAX software and CD recording, US $110.00

[*available through mail or email order only.]


A performance of "Speak" is constructed from three structural components. These include the graphic score, the sound experiences and the computer algorithms. The bassoonist/or player/s, play the part of the patient/subject, whereas the computer performed part/s represents the disease; either Leukemia or depression/anxiety [which are stages of the disease once the patient enters remission]. The graphic score maps solutions for sequencing the sound experience material. The score is read generally from the top left of the page to the bottom right. Players begin at the red dot [top-left] and either exit the piece at one of the three black death squares, or alive; at the black dot [bottom right]. Red lines represent having Leukemia. Black lines signify being in remission. The player can travel any direction along a straight line, [either forward or backwards]. The two bent lines represent ways a patient can come out of remission: they can only be travelled backwards ie from bottom right back up to the L1 square.

Sound experience locations on the graphic score can be repeated, however they must be played as new variations/extemporizations. The sound experiences constitute a musical vocabulary for the piece. Sound experiences are fragments, phrases etc with a corresponding text for interpretation and further improvisation. They are composed specifically for the bassoon. Other instruments should adapt/transpose etc. Bassoon multi-phonics can be interpreted as either harmonic entities or beating dissonances. Sound experiences are grouped into families relating to types of events or stages within the history of my disease. Squares represent pre-treatment, while Circles represent treatment stages of the disease. Where dynamics are left out the player can choose which dynamic the memory requires. Players should perform the memories at suitable tempos of their choosing. Larger ensembles should layer tempi. A MAX program performs pitch variations/echoes of live performance. This material is then played on MIDI synthesisers and the attack, duration and phrasing is assembled and performed by a conductor/performer. Software is included with the score.

Review by Michael Kieran Harvey

...."Every sound has been thought about deeply and is meticulously catalogued and visualised. She manages to combine improvisation with notation in a compelling way - as opposed to the "go with the flow" failures of much work in this area - no mean feat when the philosophical approaches are so contrary. In this work I am reminded of Stravinsky's maxim of infinite variation within strict parameters, however in this case the strict parameters include an extra-musical element of perhaps premature death after a life of assorted tortures, concepts he never had to face. I am reminded of the transcendental and magnanimous strivings of Liszt, Messiaen and Stockhausen in the work of this young woman...that a person can seek expression of their anguish and their ideals most effectively through music, an abstracted if not higher form of human thought, something that can transcend language, ideological and political boundaries. I find this an affirmation both of the artform as something mysterious and eternally sublime, and of the endless evolutionary capabilities of certain gifted human beings. This work "Speak" is the essence of real music, and of a real musician. Kind Regards, Michael Kieran Harvey."


copyright © 2004 Stuart Favilla and Joanne Cannon all rights reserved.


[Performance of Speak, 2002]

[Telstra Centre Melbourne]



[Click Picture to view Graphic Score]



[Joanne Cannon and Michael Kieran Harvey]