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OCTOBER 6, 2018

The Sinking of the Titanic
 

MUSIC BY GAVIN BRYARS

Extra-Time
vibraphone and electric guitar - prémière

The Sinking of the Titanic
(1969 - )

-

Gavin Bryars  contrabass
Luca Sanzò  viola
Costanza Negroni  viola
Jacopo Muratori violoncello
Manuel Zurria  flute
Paolo Ravaglia  bass clarinet and clarinet
Lucio Perotti  keyboard
Sergio Sorrentino  electric guitar
Antonio Caggiano  vibraphone and percussions


2018 DMDM 11


The Sinking of the Titanic originated in a sketch written for an art exhibition in 1969. Working as I was in an art college environment I was interested to see what might be the musical equivalent of a work of conceptual art. It was not until 1972 that I made a performing version of the piece for part of an evening of my work at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. In 1975 I made a recorded version for the first of the ten records produced for Brian Eno's Obscure label. In 1990 it was recorded 'live' at the Printemps de Bourges festival when the discovery of the wreck made me think again about the music. This version also formed the basis for the 1994 recording on Point. There have been subsequent recordings by Alter Ego, On Touch, and by the Gavin Bryars Ensemble, on GB Records, for the 2012 Titanic centenary year.         

All the materials used in the piece are derived from research and speculations about the sinking of the "unsinkable" luxury liner. On April 14th 1912 the Titanic struck an iceberg at 11.40 PM in the North Atlantic and sank at 2.20 AM on April 15th. The initial starting point for the piece was the reported fact of the band having played a hymn in the final minutes of the ship's sinking in an extraordinary act of self-sacrifice. The Episcopal hymn "Autumn" becomes the principle element of the music and is subject to a variety of treatments, and forms a base over which other material is superimposed. Although the piece was conceived many years ago new ways of looking at the material are constantly sought out, looking at it afresh.


The Sinking of the Titanic

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