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Robert Sazdov - есенска месечина (autumm moon)

Program Notes

The composition consists almost entirely of vocal manipulation of three (3) traditional Macedonian ‘autumn’ songs, mesechinko (beautiful moon), aj stani (wake-up), and dzibirichki (swallows) – there are tapan (big drum) manipulations towards the end of the composition. All songs are taken from the Pirin region of ethnographic Macedonia and are performed by the trio, Sestri Bisserovi (The Bisserovi Sisters), arguably Pirin’s leading vocal ensemble and one of the Balkan’s most recognised performers.

Due to the sister’s similar vocal characteristics, close performed musical intervals, and long drone like phrases, results in the increased auditory perception of harmonics. There is much high frequency energy, demonstrated by spectral analysis tools, with many frequencies nearing 16kHz. The mentioned elements are seized on for the compositions and form the basis for most vocal manipulations. This results in almost meditative sounding drone passages, use of close harmonic intervals, and the auditory results of manipulating, morphing, and isolation harmonics as high as the 40th harmonic.

The composition uses the Double-Diamond speaker configuration in a 7.1 set-up, the rear speaker is not utilised. Using seven (7) speakers assists with the spatialisation of rhythmic elements, which are in 7/8, 7/4, 7/2, as well as, larger time scale divisions of 7. This not only allows for precise placement of melodic and rhythmic elements within the seven (7) sound point sources but also reflects the most commonly used time division in traditional Macedonian music. The spatialisation of sound objects is determined by an experimental panner, which I am currently authoring, and uses traditional embroidery patterns to outline trajectory paths. Finally, есенска месечина is viewed as a neo-traditional composition, continuing the tradition of Macedonian folklore.

Robert Sazdov - Trilogy of Tributes Installation: Vaska Ilieva [1924-2001]

Program Notes

The Trilogy of Tributes Installation: Vaska Ilieva [1924-2001] draws on the individual compositions that contribute to the Trilogy of Tributes: Vaska Ilieva [1924-2001]. The Butterfly Installation Instrument provides an opportunity to present the Trilogy in its entirety. The compositions are listed below with their performance premier and format:

1. Kumanovo [12.2 Channel Compositions]– premier: Australasian Computer Music Conference, Edith Cowan University - Perth , July 2003

2. go nema Ilija [Live A/V Performance/Composition]– premier: Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall – Sydney , August 2003

3. Mesecina [5.1 Channel Composition]– Premier: Australasian Computer Music Conference, University of Victoria Wellington , July 2004

For the Butterfly Installation Instrument, the Trilogy of Tributes Installation has incorporated sound files of sonic manipulations that were not used in the Trilogy of Tributes. This has resulted in the introduction of drum machine driven Macedonian beats and rhythmic vocal manipulations. However, all dominant musical elements are presented from the three (3) compositions and are interweaved, overlapped and morphed into a dense drone driven sonic soundscape intended to fill the space. Except for the obvious use of drum machine samples, the entire piece is constructed of vocal manipulations of Vaska Ilieva.

Since the early 1950s until her recent death in 2001, Vaska Ilieva had been referred to as the ‘Queen’ of Macedonian traditional song. She has been awarded various honours from many European countries and undertaken tours throughout America , Europe and Australia . Her interpretation of a repertoire consisting of over 800 songs had earned her an enviable place as one of the most versatile and consequently popular Macedonian female artist. However, since the mid-1980s Vaska Ilieva had focused on interpreting what are know as ‘patriotic’ songs, which directly reflected the popular opinion and preempted the independence of the Republic of Macedonia .


On her tour to Australia in 1992, I undertook a cappella studio recordings of various traditional songs. One of those was Sto mi omilelo which is exclusively used in Kumanovo. The song is a pecalbarska pesna (economic migrant song), describes a man’s ‘longing’, ‘fondness’, and ‘memory’ of his home town, Kumanovo, the ‘maidens’ in Kumanovo, and, the Kumanovo plains in northern Macedonia . This region of Macedonia was under terrorist attack and occupation in late – 2001, triggering a mobilisation of the Macedonian Army for the first time since 1943. Many Macedonians lost their lives in this insertion by fundamentalists who had western military intelligence, political and financial support. Many believe this was a strategic action for control over oil pipelines from the Middle East , which are proposed to run through the northern region of Macedonia .

Mesecina (moon) Ogreala jasna mesecina (The Bright Shinning Moon) expresses the journey of a hopeful bachelor indenting to ask Jana to marry him. With the anticipation of marriage the full moon reveals nature’s beauty. However, on the return trip the moon reveals that all was not as previously seen - Jana did not accompany the bachelor back home. In mesecina the anticipation of a fruitful relationship is replaced with the promises of democracy and capitalism after the downfall of communism in the ex-Yugoslav republic in the early 1990s. However, this has resulted in a lowered standard of living for the vast majority of the Macedonian population, the dubious sale of vital national resources, and an unstable political climate due to continual external influence and manipulations.

All compositions utilise FFT based audio processing and manipulations found in the programs MetaSynth and AudioSculpt. The FFT manipulations were used to create MetaSynth ‘Instruments’ and trigged by the MetaSynth’s ‘Image Synth’ consisting of melodic picture templates of the mentioned traditional songs.

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