Paul Lansky: Fantasies and Tableaux
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR683     Release Date: 2007-01-01
Hannah MacKay, reader

Speech and song are commonly considered as different and distinct as apples and oranges. It is my feeling, however, that they are more usefully thought of as occupying opposite ends of a spectrum that encompasses a wealth of musical potential. This fact has certainly not been lost on musicians: sprechstimme, melodrama, recitative, rap, blues, etc., are all evidence that this is a lively domain. Six Fantasies is my exploratory journey through this terrain. Each of the fantasies attempts to musically transform a single reading by Hannah MacKay of a well-known poem by Thomas Campion, and to highlight some aspect of her speech—contour, vowels, resonance, articulation, consonants, etc.—in order to explicate the implicit music within. The final fantasy largely reproduces the original reading, and it is my hope that by the time it rolls by, her speech will sound like music.

Still Time was conceived as a kind of film music without images, perhaps reminiscent of the idea of a “song without words.” Each of the piece’s four overlapping tableaux rests on an initial real-world sound: wind in the garden, traffic, and groups of people for the last two. (The use of real-world sound here differs substantially from that in much of my other work, where I often attempt to transform the sounds into music—in this piece, the sounds remain relatively free from digital intervention and retain their original identity.) Turning the tables a bit on film, however, the recorded sounds are used here to color the music that evolves: now the “images” become the inner voice of the music. But the piece is not “about” anything in particular: it is, ultimately, abstract. Instead, I hope that the real-world sounds will influence our perceptions of the music, coloring or skewing them by the way they position us. Also, further drawing on the experience of film, the pacing and evolution of the piece was conceived in terms of a kind of “landscape” cinematography: my musical camera pans slowly, and musical shapes build gradually, as we accumulate details of the panorama.
—Paul Lansky


This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).

Paul Lansky

Paul Lansky: Fantasies and Tableaux

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
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CD $15.99

Track Listing

Six Fantasies on a Poem by Thomas Campion: her voice
Paul Lansky
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Six Fantasies on a Poem by Thomas Campion: her prescence
Paul Lansky
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Six Fantasies on a Poem by Thomas Campion: her reflection
Paul Lansky
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Six Fantasies on a Poem by Thomas Campion: her song
Paul Lansky
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Six Fantasies on a Poem by Thomas Campion: her ritual
Paul Lansky
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Six Fantasies on a Poem by Thomas Campion: her self
Paul Lansky
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Still Time: first tableau - panorama
Paul Lansky
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Still Time: second tableau - street scene
Paul Lansky
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Still Time: third tableau - from above
Paul Lansky
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Still Time: four tableau - turning inward
Paul Lasnky
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