Dances with Whales - The Whale's Cry
James Burden - 1996

The Whale's Cry is the first of a set of three dances lamenting the persecution and decline of whales. The material in this composition is derived exclusively from a decomposition of Schoenberg's Klavierst├╝cke VI OP. 19. This was composed in 1911 and is an elegy "in memoria" of Mahler who died the same year. I was attracted to this p1ece by the ethereal stillness and rhythmic freedom and it was this which inspired the perpetual motion of The Whale's Cry.

The tape part consists of a marimba tuned to the B minor mean scale, a vibraphone tuned to the F minor mean scale, a piano tuned in 1\4 notes with a reverse filter, several bell sounds (all derived from Klavierst├╝cke VI), a guitar with a delay on the harmonic overtones, and several whale type sounds. All the sounds on tape were created by the composer using FM and AWM synthesis.

The structure is designed in exact proportions and the effect intended is a series of wave-like events, both in the overall structure and its component sections.

Performances