Georgia Spiropoulos' Vocalscapes on Walt Whitman (2014) is a 6-channel composition to be presented in a concert or as a sound installation.
The creation of the sound material was based on recordings by fifteen talkers in several different countries reading excerpts from Whitman's Leaves of Grass in their native languages. The recordings were then sequenced in strophes, verses, and words, inspired by Whitman's detailed catalogs of images, scenes, voices, humans, objects, and words.
Vocalscapes on Walt Whitman
The composition explores the ideas of poetry as soundspace and poetry as a geography of languages, voices, performances, and humans. It is a reference to the pronunciations, dialects and idioms in Whitman’s use of foreign and borrowed words, slang, onomatopoeias and pronunciations in his poetic language. He wrote: “Pronunciation is the stamina of language — it is language.”
Commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture for the Ars Nova Ensemble, Vocalscapes on Walt Whitman was composed in the audio studios of La Muse en Circuit, Paris.
Thanks to all the talkers for their recordings. They were Joel Chadabe, Helga Fanderl, José-Miguel Fernandez, Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, Martin Carlé, Dieter Kaufmann, Elainie Lillios, Philippe Leroux, Paola Livorsi, Anne Montaron, Philippe Nahon, Marina Skiadaresi, Savina Yannatou, Allen Weiss, as well as an anonymous talker.
Georgia Spiropoulos composes instrumental, vocal, and electro-acoustic music as well as video and sound installations. Her work is characterized by a composition "inside the sound" approach but also by her interest on temporality and form. She explores ideas about orality, transmission and perception, and the ubiquity of orality in musical text and performance. This research conducts her to work in proximity with the performer that she identifies as the "vital encounter" for the creation. Her thinking on new instrumental and vocal techniques is influenced by 20th century music and traditional music, but also by avant-rock, free improvisation, multimedia, performance art, and turntablism.