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In Review

Katharine Norman
(p)NMC Recordings, Sonic Arts Network (NMC D034) (1996)

24 i 1998

This CD touches upon the people and moods of London in a trio of 'digital soundscapes'. It also provides a mixed work for clarinet.

The Gulf War gave many post-war adults a slight chill, as war suddenly didn't seem as distant as before. Katharine Norman's mother was a youth during World War II and has retained many memories. Katherine Norman shares them with the listener in a quiet, reflective, and conversational work.

"In her own time" has two characters: Rita Norman and her daughter the composer. Whose computer music shrouds the atmosphere with a subdued darkness, a softly worded reminder of the lives wasted in war.

When we live in a city for a period of time, a family of reoccurring soundscapes compose our sense of place. In the next work, "London E17", Katharine Norman investigates worlds familiar to her day to day life as a Londoner. Simple snapshots of anonymous Londoners in anonymous lo-fi settings hang from a melancholic clothesline of c-sound tone clusters.

People Underground

People Underground

Again the mood is quiet and reflective. In the work that follows, "People Underground", the dark echoes of underground passage ways reverberate and rumble in a succession of events that fade in and out of black. The composer demonstrates a purity of purpose here, as all the elements in this work derive from soundscape recordings of foot tunnels beneath the Thames.

Trilling Wire

Trilling Wire

Rounding off the CD is "Trilling Wire" for Clarinet and Tape. Norman wheels out the computer again and the clarinetist, Jonathan Cooper, comes skipping and dancing along with her. The computer timbres are a kind of stream that the clarinet dashes through: bouncing off one register and then another, and gaining the speed and velocity to soar overhead for a while. The one moment where the computer sounds manage to snare the clarinet, and keep it still for a moment, is the most decisive. After this point, the clarinet drifts back and submerges slowly until the finish.

The CD on which this work appears - London - can be ordered from:

NMC / Sonic Arts Network
271/273 King Street, Hammersmith
London, UK W6 9LZ

eMusic / Electronic Music Foundation (EMF)
116 North Lake Avenue
Albany NY
12206-2710 USA

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