Earth Waves

for Solo Trombone, Spatialised Vocal Ensemble, and Moving Electronics

                                     Soprano                                         Mezzo-Soprano


                                                       speaker 4               speaker 5

          C-Tenor         speaker 3          Tenor Trombone           speaker 6        Tenor


                                                speaker 2                       speaker 1


                                          Baritone                                                 Bass

Earth Waves places a solo tenor trombone at its centre, surrounded by two different types of circles: the first being six speaker membranes that cable out from the trombone on to the ground around it, and the second being an ensemble of six vocalists at the outer edge of the stage.

The trombone begins the piece with a terrestrial solo, evoking a sense of earth and groundedness, but visually hails each vocalist toward it. The vocalists begin the piece in a much more distant state, one of undulation, like rippling waters.

Vocalist by vocalist move from this undulating state into a larger sonic wave form, walking towards the trombone, each picking up a speaker membrane on their individual path. Text from Ancient-Irish poets, who curse the seas and earth for their wild and untameable power, are embedded into each electronic vocal solo:

‘in muir mór co milib scél’ (tenor wave)

‘iar ternam do muir’ (soprano wave)

‘coluid moisi muir’ (baritone wave)

‘tria muinann mara’ (mezzo wave)

‘im muir romra’ (counter-tenor wave)

‘ri tarlaic muir romuir’ (bass wave)

These electro-acoustic waves create an ocean of movement around the trombone, incanting of lost natural phenomena, the effect that humans have on the surface of the Earth, and a sense of the irreversible.

Commissioned by The Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation for William Lang and Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble.

Watch a video of the piece, performed by William Lang (solo trombone) and Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble:

Look at an excerpt of the score Earth Waves excerpt