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Currier, Sebastian: Nightmaze (2005) 45'
multimedia work with narrator and chamber ensemble

Scoring

fl.cl-trp-perc(1):vib/SD/2cyms/hi hat/cowbell/tamb/glsp/brake drs/crot-pft.kybd-vln.vcl.db-narrator-video projections-4 channel electronics

Tech Requirements
The prerecorded audio and visual components in this performance version are implemented through Watchout, software made by Dataton, which is compatible with both Macs and PCs. The video alternates between loops and cue points, the audio is initiated at most of these cue points. The score represents these trigger points on an independent cue line and a musician most follow the score and execute these cues. The audio out is encoded in surround 5.1 (but uses only four channels) and therefore a four speaker set-up along with a mixing console that has four outputs is necessary. All the instruments and the spoken voice should be amplified, and therefore the mixing console must be sufficient to accommodate inputs not only from the four Watchout outputs, but also from the nine instrumentalists and spoken voice. The prerecorded audio and visual components of this piece are essential and must be obtained from the publisher in order to present this piece. There should be a skilled sound engineer for set-up and operation

Abbreviations (PDF)

Territory

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

Composer's Notes

Nightmaze is a multimedia work for live instrumental ensemble, spoken voice, digitally
processed sound, and video projection. Commissioned by the Network for New Music with funding from the Barlow Foundation, Nightmaze was created by composer Sebastian Currier (music) in collaboration with video designer Sage Carter (video) and writer Thomas Bolt (text, roadsigns).

As Nightmaze begins, a college student, after studying without sleep for three days straight, has just finished his final exams in Physics, Cosmology, Psychology, Economics, and “the Male Sublime.” He falls into a deep sleep and—his mind saturated with half-understood ideas—dreams he is rushing along a dark, enormous highway on which he is the only driver.

Nightmaze follows his journey through a dream world of sexual desire, fear, and longing
that is ordered only by the strange roadsigns that loom up along the way, forcing him to
choose his course from among the stark, binary options they present.

Nightmaze uses tightly interlocking music, narration, and animation to evoke the dark and glittering sweep of the nightmare Interstate (labeled UNCONSCIOUS 1). The music’s incessant motion underscores the road’s changing rhythm as the dreaming protagonist is confronted again and again with foreshortened warnings, forced instructions, and paired alternatives out of Freud, physics, cosmology, and the philosophy of Edmund Burke.

- Sebastian Currier



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