Trevor Wishart (b.1946) is an independent composer living and working in the North of England. His most well-known pieces include 'Red Bird' - a political prisoner's dream (1977), the Vox cycle of live vocal pieces (1980-88), first heard at the 1989 Proms, and 'Tongues Of Fire', awarded a Golden Nica at the International Ars Electronica Festival. He is currently a Creative Arts Fellow at the University of Birmingham, and an Honorary Professor at the University of York. In 2000, he devised the music for Max Couper's 'Birthrite, a Fleeting Opera' presented on moving barges on the Thames with performers from the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet.
In addition to composing, In the early 1970s he pioneered taking participatory music-making into public open spaces, schools and community venues, developing new music workshop techniques (the Sounds Fun books of musical games have since been republished in Japanese), and was subsequently the sound designer for the Jorvik Viking Centre museum in York. Since the 1980s he has developed many new techniques for sound transformation and written about this new world of sound composition in the books 'On Sonic Art' and 'Audible Design'.
It is estimated that, by the year 2010, more than 50% of the world‚s population will live in major cities. The piece Fabulous Paris tries to capture that exciting yet frightening flood of information and experience, which is the modern mega-city.
In the piece, 'Fabulous Paris', Paris is first encountered as the prize destination on an American TV game show, but soon becomes the mysterious city of our dreams, hopes and fears. The piece uses recordings made in many cities - the traffic tunnels of Stockholm, the Paris metro, an amusement park in Kobe, traffic announcements on the California freeways (recorded for me by the sound-poet Larry Wendt), voices from American TV adverts and game-shows (recorded whilst working at Allen Strange's San Jose studio in the early 80s), the voices of astronauts, J. F. Kennedy and Hitler.
Fabulous Paris was commissioned by Swedish Radio, Malmö, and by the Birmingham Rumours Festival. The piece was made entirely on a domestic PC using my own software, some of which (in particular, filters tuneable to changing harmonies) was developed specially for this piece.
I call these four pieces 'Voiceprints' (like voice recordings used by the police to trace suspects or missing persons). The movements treat the voices of the subjects in the manner of personal portraits, or political cartoons.
The 2nd and 4th pieces are derived exclusively from the voice of the subject.
Two Women was commissioned by the DAAD, and first performed in Berlin in September 1998, using the diffusion system of the Berlin Technical University.
Margaret Thatcher (quoting St Francis of Assisi) "Where there is discord, may we bring harmony".
Princess Diana (talking about press photographers) "There was a relationship which worked before, but now I can't tolerate it because it's become abusive, and it's harassment".
Ian Paisley (on Margaret Thatcher) "O God, defeat all our enemies... we hand this woman, Margaret Thatcher, over to the devil, that she might learn not to blaspheme. And O God in wrath, take vengeance upon this wicked, treacherous, lying woman. Take vengeance upon her O Lord!".
Princess Diana "It was a fairy story... that everyone wanted to work. It's been worthwhile, yes it has" and "I want to be the queen of peoples hearts".
10 April, 8pm
(BBC broadcast 19 April)