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Deep Wireless 2002: A Celebration of Radio Art

Program Notes

Deep Wireless


A Dream Play (Excerpt)
(adapted from the play by August Strindberg)

Cast List:

Tyrone Benskin ..................... Indra
Karen Glave .......................... Anges
Alison Sealy Smith ................. Alice
Ken Kramer .......................... Axel
Michael Ripley ...................... Officer
Deann De Gruijter ................. 1st Singer
Female Coal Heaver
Jean Stillwel ......................... Victoria
Fred Love ............................ He
Wayne Robson .................... Glazier
Male Coal Heaver
David Huband ...................... Quarantine Master
Four-headed Dean
Glenda Balkan ..................... She


Darren Copeland Adaptor
Wende Bartley Composer
Linda Grearson Casting Director
Anton Szabo Sound Effects
Greg DeClute Recording Engineer
Lynda Hill Director
James Roy Executive Producer

Surround Yourself In - A Dream Play

A work that is considered impossible to stage in the theatre, A Dream Play is ideally suited to radio. Almost a century ago, Strindberg abandoned conventional perceptions of time and space and modelled his play after a dream. The result is an expressionistic masterpiece that is a work of pure imagination. The characters split and multiply, realities evaporate and condense, and problems disperse and reassemble again. Director Lynda Hill advises listeners to "embrace it as if you were the dreamer and enjoy the ride." A Dream Play was adapted for CBC Radio by electroacoustic composer Darren Copeland. He weaves the sound, music and text together into a rich score that pushes radio drama to its outer limits.

In the story, Alice, a poet, dreams of Agnes, a young goddess, whose destiny it is to descend to earth to experience life as a mortal. She soon discovers that happiness is impossible to achieve and "human beings are to be pitied." Though spiritual suffering and pain may be at the centre of A Dream Play, this production has a bold irreverence that bubbles with dark humour and absurd silliness.

The full-length version (100 minutes) is available on CD at the CBC.

Terror & Erebus — A verse drama for radio by Gwendolyn MacEwen

Cast List:

Chris Heyerdahl .............................. Rasmussen
Cedric Smith ................................... Franklin
R.H. Thomson ................................ Crozier
Makka Kleist .................................. Qaqortingneq


Director Lynda Hill
Producer & Sound Design Darren Copeland
Casting director Linda Grearson
Associate producer Sandra Broitman
Packaging associate producer Michelle Parise
Recording engineer Greg DeClute
Sound effects Matt Wilcott
Executive Producer James Roy

Gwendolyn MacEwen was one of Canada’s most intriguing literary figures. She emerged on the Toronto poetry scene in the late-fifties before the age of twenty. Originally produced in 1965, Terror and Erebus is perhaps the best known of her CBC commissions. Written in verse it is also a great example of her poetry from this early period, as it possesses the acute directness of feeling and arresting atmosphere that made her early work so powerful. Like many independent thinkers in Canada, fame or at least respectability did not come easily and when it did it was difficult to sustain. Despite the directness of her poetry the life of Gwendolyn MacEwen is shrouded in a painful mystery that ended tragically with her death in 1987 from alcoholism.

Terror and Erebus is about the Franklin naval expedition of 1845. In search of a Northwest passage to cross North America two British naval ships called, The Terror and The Erebus, froze in the arctic ice leaving the crew to slowly perish and die over the next three years as food supplies ran out and scurvy set in. MacEwen’s narrative is told almost a century later by the explorer Knud Rasmussen of both Scandinavian and Inuit heritage. Rasmussen relives the story and from his unique cultural perspective brings together the fragmented pieces of the tragic expedition, complete with its horrors of madness, cannibalism, sickness, and starvation.The version presented this evening is a revised and updated production of Terror and Erebus for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Special thanks to producer James Roy, recording engineer Greg DeClute, sound effects engineer Matt Wilcox, and to director Lynda Hill for all of their expedient and effective work. Also, thanks to Eric Cadesky for providing sound samples of instruments used by the Glass Orchestra.

Radio in Concert

Unsound Objects (1995)

by Jonty Harrison

This piece plays on Pierre Schaeffer’s definition of a sound object–that pre-recorded sounds should be heard divorced of their physical origins. A rich ambiguity exists between the real world associations of a sound and the more abstracted musical properties that Harrison exploits in this piece. Unsound Objects was composed at the composer's studio and in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of The University of Birmingham (U.K.) and was first performed at the 1995 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC 95) in Banff (Alberta, Canada) on September 7, 1995. Unsound Objects was commissioned by the International Computer Music Association (ICMA).

Rising Tides of Generations Lost (1985)

by Wende Bartley

Drawing on women's stories handed down aurally over time, this piece uses the fundamental building blocks of language to tell the story of struggle and intolerance endured by women over centuries. This is one of Bartley's earliest pieces and it possesses the intensity and political motivation found throughout her repertoire of electroacoustic vocal compositions. Rising Tides of Generations Lost was realized at the Electronic Music Studio at McGill University in Montréal in 1985 with the Synclavier Sample-to-Disk system. It was remixed in 1993 at the Luscar Recording Studio of The Banff Centre for the Arts, with engineer Frank Lockwood. Sampled voices include those of Anne Erskine, Wende Bartley, Cathy Herd, Helen Hall, Marguerite Bartley, and Dorothy Young. The piece premièred at a GEMS' concert (Group of the Electronic Music Studio) at Pollack Hall in Montréal on April 4th, 1985.

Radio Music by John Cage (1961)

conducted by Wende Bartley

Radio Music is scored for 8 radios and was Cage's response to feedback from the première of Imaginary Landscape no. 4, scored for 12 radios and played by 25 performers. One of the criticisms of Imaginary Landscape no.4 at its première was that the scoring of volume changes made the volume level of the composition quiet and in some cases barely audible. However, the quiet was also attributed to the fact that the piece was premièred late at night at a time when the radio stations often went off air when there was little signal on the airwaves. With that in mind, Cage composed Radio Music with very little volume changes and with specifications that the radios be played as loud as possible.

WBAI by John Cage (1960)

performed by Chris Twomey

New Adventures in Sound Art issued a call for submissions in the Toronto area for DJs, turntablists, and radio programmers to make a realization of WBAI, a piece by John Cage scored for one radio technical operator. The score is a graphic score for four playback sources that can be scaled to any duration of radio programming. DJ Chris Twomey was selected from this process to realize a fifteen-minute version. He has elected to use Cage and Tudor's recording of Indeterminacy with a selection of other Cage pieces and interviews.

Dedans-Dehors (1977)

by Bernard Parmegiani

Dedans-Dehors broadens the field of metamorphoses previously tested in the movement of De Natura Sonorum entitled Matières induites–where natural sounds (sounds from nature) were confronted with artificial sounds (synthetic sounds). These metamorphoses reflect changes (passages from fluid to solid), movements (ebb-flow, inspiration-expiration) and carry along with them the notion of Œinside-outside (dialectic à la Bachelard), the expression of which is manifested through a few sounds-symbols: in phase/out of phase;

the door–place of transition;
the wave–internal-external energy;
sound crescendo–distant, close, the approach

Artists Bios

Artwork: Prashant Miranda

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