2 rehearsals today...

Today was a big day - The Song Company and Australian Art Quartet rehearsed my works 

This was the third rehearsal of "30/31 - Lobotomy" with the Australian Art Quartet. We're working without scores, and today we ran the whole work... I was able to give them notes, and multiple runs and note givings later, I think we're ready for a dress rehearsal.

The score is a 4 page 'script' giving suggestions for movement and sound modalities along with an appendix of music notation. Some components are precise, others leave a lot of room for interpretation and improvisation. It's changed so much since we've been going through it in the rehearsal room - to suit the capabilities of the quartet, but also to improve the composition. They give me suggestions and I rarely say 'no', as the work is collaborative. 

Today's rehearsal was with all props and costume... it's almost ritualistic, and to me it reflects what the mind can do to us when we're succumbing to too much information, brainwashing, our inner lunacy.

Part of the original idea was to use a lot of text, but we may end up taking this out... I'm finding the use of text very literal, and the work doesn't need it as the music, movement, costume and props are conveying all the meaning needed by it. This has been the most exciting rehearsal period I've ever done... I'm now playing the role of director as well as composer, as we do read throughs and I give notes that get absorbed for the next run.

The work with The Song Company - Out of the Deep - had its first reading today. It was really refreshing to be collaborating with them on another work again, but this is the first time I've worked with their new director, Antony. His sense of pitch is astounding... I felt kinda nervous as I Do Not have the aural abilities of he nor the singers, but they understand the gesture I want them to achieve in each phrase, and we're able to go into the micro detail of pronunciation and word deconstruction.

I said that I'd like to include some movement in the work, simply around proximity to Daniel, the cellist. Very interested to see if I can add this element to the performance... Space is a very important factor in this work already because of the hocket effects that are throughout the work, and it's composed in mind of there being 2 duets on either side of the cello. If I can add proximity to the cellist and each other as directions (particularly when Daniel the cellist has his solos), I'll be super happy. I am pretty sure we'll get there!

From these experiences I'm having such ideas for works with larger forces - like orchestra, or a 15 piece ensemble... I don't think any of the major orchestras I know would be up for it, but certainly orchestras made up of more unconventional performers would give it a shot... like Sonja Shebeck's Freestyle Orchestra, but perhaps I can find other musicians interested in exploring movement, props, staging, costume and text in their performance that are closer to home...

The work with the AAQ premieres next Wednesday - http://australianartquartet.com/, and with the Song Company in June http://song.company/forward-bach/

Andrew Batt-Rawden

Arts Illuminated Pty Ltd, Level 13, 167 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

Publisher and artist. I have a background in music composition, festival direction, media publishing, some uni teaching here and there as well as performance art. I make websites for various projects that I'm involved with.