Adventures in White : an epitaph
Updated: Nov 12, 2021
What do we see, hear?
I love white — the white of noise where many frequencies come together with equal intensity, same same but different. A somewhat leaky white.
I love white-on-white, the trickster white that makes us look for something in the nothing.
I wrote some Adventures in White for the SYC Ensemble Singers — water mist fog, for triple mixed octet. The SYC sing in canon and aleatoric clouds of sound, hiding each other in plain sight behind the wet mists of sameness. The choir becomes invisible, a white rabbit in the snow.
Adventures in White has, ironically, been whited-out by the Great Silence, circa March 13, 2020. Too much singing, COVID-19 Safe Management Measures said.
White is missing Black.
I love black — the black that scores and smudges whiteness with lines and dots and wedges and blocks. This blackness draws us in and out.
I love black-on-black, the black hole of blackness to infinity and beyond.
Here sounds Black.
A spot tentative.
A voice masked, sotto voce.
Listen. What do we hear, here?
I paired Black and its secrets with a score for performing listening, curious about the sound of assorted whites and Cage-an silences:
What is the sound of white?
We need 9000 names for white, writes Glyn Maxwell, on the silences upon which poems are strung. This whiteness must be the flattest white of all time, Pantone SARS-CoV-2.
We need a new Black to make intelligent use of this flat white, something to clock the deafening nothing, new adventures in white.
New adventures in silence.
Puck across the line;
split second, silence.
The roar of the crowd.
—John Steil, 100 Red Haiku Tags
*Score! rehearsal excerpt (SYC, 26 September 2020, Esplanade Recital Studio).
The third movement of Curious & Curiouser, a choral theatre piece written for the SYC Ensemble Singers, Score! is all about the turning the pages of a score as silently as possible. Or not.