According to the Bible our history begins with God's word, which is logical because the voice is so very expressive and versatile. But wasn't the first historical audio registration also of a voice? Yes, indeed, and that is no coincidence!
Until recently we thought that Thomas Edison had made the very first vocal recording on a phonograph in 1887. But on 27 March 2008 American scientists succeeded in decoding an audio recording made in 1860. It was a ten-second recording of someone singing “Au clair de la lune, Pierrot répondit”, a fragment of an old French folksong, made by the Parisian inventor Edouard-Leon Scot t de Martinville on his phonautograph, an apparatus that scratched sound waves on a paper roll blackened with the soot of an oil lamp.
This composition is a literal rerun of the manipulation techniques used to recover the original recording made on 9 April 1860. At the same time it is an artistic return in a musical time machine, in which the listener can experience the versatile power of the human voice combined with contemporary techniques, embarking on an adventure in the vocal universe.
“Au clair de la lune” was technical supported by M-Audio/Avid.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and The First Sounds gave permission to use the original sample of “Au clair de la lune” from 1860.
This piece is composed for Vocaal Lab Nederland and is presented during Het Festival Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2008, which had its own premiere in September 2008 at het Muziekgebouw aan `t IJ te Amsterdam, the Netherlands (under the guidance of Romain Bischoff).
The first concert of this work was registered and broadcasted by the Dutch broadcast radio station de Concertzender.
This work was financial supported by the Dutch Performing Arts Fund.
“Au clair de la lune”, a composition for 4-part vocal ensemble and surround electronics, is greatly valued by the international jury from Free Sounds Organisation, Linux Audio Organisation, Muziekinstituut MultiMedia (MiMM), Utrecht School of the Arts and Open Source Organisation and it has awarded the second prize of the “150-Years-of-Music-Technology Composition Competition”.
“Au clair de la lune” won the special jury prize of EmuFest 2010 Composition Contest Prize (Roma, Italy) and performend at
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
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