Breathe in me

Kate Halsall piano, harmoniums

Released 5th March 2021

available on bandcamp

Breathe in me is Kate’s first solo album and explores new music for piano, reed foot pump and Indian harmoniums, with electronics.

This new collection of works began life with commissions from Sound Festival (2018) for Kate Halsall by Diana Salazar and Pippa Murphy. At the end, fragments, the rest is noise by Rose Dodd, was also premiered as part of the Sound Festival performance. 

Special thanks to Fiona Robertson and Pete Stollery at Sound Scotland, for commissioning and supporting development of new works for solo harmonium and to all the composers; also to Aberdeen University Music Department Studio and to Ross Whyte, for the use of his 13 stop Needham, New York harmonium. 

Liner notes:

Piano, harmoniums Kate Halsall

Voice (Myojo) Lore Lixenberg 

Electronics and tape parts created by Pippa Murphy, Ailís Ní Ríain, Diana Salazar. Myojo electronic material created by Kate Halsall and John Martindale, Blank Studios.

Breathe in me harmonium mix Kate Halsall

Luadhadr mix, mastered Diana Salazar

All tracks recorded at Blank Studios by John Martindale and at Aberdeen University Music Studio by Marta Rossi. ℗ Kate Halsall

Original artwork © Roseanna Bellwood @courtyard_printer

Photo James Williams

Mixed and Produced Kate Halsall

Produced, Mastered John Martindale, Blank Studios, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Diana Salazar 

Luadhadh [loo-ugh-ad] 2018 pedal harmonium & electronics 

‘Waulking’ is a traditional practice of preparing tweed by wetting, then hitting the cloth to soften it. To accompany this manual work, women often sang Gaelic ‘waulking songs’, passed from one generation to the next. These songs have inspired both the harmonium and soundtrack elements of the music. The harmonium, acting as the main voice in the piece, uses speech-like rhythms derived from the songs and explores song-like improvised melodies in the mixolydian mode. Surrounding this, the soundtrack includes a selection of historic orphaned recordings from the School of Scottish Studies Archive at the University of Edinburgh, featuring the spoken word and song of Jimmy Macbeath, Annie MacLeod and Annie MacDonald. DS

As a composer and sound artist Diana’s practice-led research examines spatial composition and interpretation in electronic music and issues concerning the performance practice of electronic music, and interdisciplinary discourse. She has also published on creative process in collaborative projects, and music technology in Higher Education. Her compositional outputs include fixed media acousmatic work, work for instruments and electronics, music and dance collaborations, and improvised electronic laptop performance. She is Associate Head of BMus and Creative and Contextual Studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, having previously lectured at Kingston University London and City, University of London.

Diana’s works are performed regularly both nationally and internationally, many have been recognised in international competitions, including the Qobuz/Abeille Musique Prize 2013, the Non-classical Remix Prize 2014 and the International Computer Music Association European Regional Award 2015. Selected works have been released on the Elektramusic, Studio PANaroma, SCRIME, Discparc, MisoMusic and Drift Station labels. She has been a composer-in-residence at Elektronmusikstudion (EMS), Sweden; the Destellos Institute, Argentina; Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia (CEMI), Texas; and Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida. 

Rose Dodd

at the end, fragments, the rest is noise 2018 – piano

written in 2018 for Kate Halsall; it is dedicated to her, and to the memory of Susan McNally. 

Based in Amsterdam, Rose Dodd is a composer of instrumental & electronic music, a writer/reviewer and curator of contemporary music.

Studying at Dartington College of Arts with Frank Denyer, continuing composition studies at Koninklijk Conservatorium, Den Haag, Dodd has a fascination with the music scenes of Norway and the Netherlands and has published books about the music of Christopher Fox (Routledge, 2016) and Louis Andriessen (Lecturis, 2019).

Fumiko Miyachi 

Myojo 2006, arr. KH 2019 – indian harmonium, piano and voice

Myojo – Morning Star

Fumiko Miyachi is a composer and pianist. Her particular interest lies in creating bright sounds, often inspired by patterns found in nature. Current obsessions include growing edible plants and looking after/playing with her two hens (Instagram #FumiFarm). 

Her music has been performed by musicians worldwide, including the BBC Singers, Opera North, MAE, Lontano, Orkest de ereprijs, Concorde, decibel and Tabea Debus to name a handful. Recent commissions have been supported by PRSF, City Music Foundation, Ambache Charitable Trust and Hinrichsen Foundation. 

Awards and prizes include Joan Weller Composition Prize (1997), Tracey Chadwell Memorial Prize (2002), Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra Young Composers’ Award (2005), The New Millennium Composition Prize (2006), PRSF Women Make Music Award (2016) and BASCA British Composer Award shortlist (2016).  As a pianist, Fumiko specializes in performing contemporary repertoire and has premiered and performed many pieces by composers including Anton Lukoszevieze, Howard Skempton, Michael Finnissy, Laurence Crane, Diana Burrell, Michael Wolters, Joe Cutler, Donnacha Dennehy and Colin Riley. Since 2013, she has been one half of Cobalt Duo with Kate Halsall.

Ailís Ní Ríain 

2 Steep 4 Sheep (some hills are) 2006 – pedal harmonium & electroacoustic tape (arr. ANR 2018)

Composed when I moved to rural West Yorkshire in Northern England, United Kingdom. I lived in a house which was built into a rock-face and outside my window I would regularly see rough hill-sheep clinging onto the rock-face as they ate their greens. I often wondered whether they ever felt stressed about the possibility of falling off the hillside; in my dreams they fell to their deaths. A pastoral nightmare, 2 steep 4 sheep (some hills are) pays homage to these curious and sensitive animals whom I hold in great affection. ANR

Ailís Ní Ríain was born in Cork, in the Republic of Ireland and is presently based in Northern England. She is a contemporary classical composer and published writer for stage who aims to produce work that challenges, provokes and engages. A regular collaborator with artists in other art-forms, Ailís’ artistic interests are diverse and combined with an unwavering desire to push and develop her artistic practice through each new project or commission. Ailís composes concert music, site­-specific music installations, opera, music­-theatre and often collaborates with artists working in other forms such as visual art, text, photography and illustration.There have been performances of her work at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, The National Concert Hall of Ireland and Carnegie Hall, New York, throughout Europe and on BBC Radio and RTE Radio. In 2016 she was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers. She was made a member of the Ivors Academy Classical Committee in 2020.

 

Eleanor Cully

Movements in two positions 2014 – piano

Movements in two positions is a work for solo piano from 2014. The harmonic landscape for each performance comes from placing hands upon the keyboard surface in two positions. These hand positions are then fixed for the duration of the performance, so much so that the unfolding cycle of fingers are lifted one at a time and placed back down in a repeating pattern of sustained key depressions. This sometimes results in keys being played too lightly to sound, subtly interrupting and adjusting the flow of sounds.

Eleanor Cully is an artist, composer and performer whose work is mainly sound-based, but often involves peripheral visual and poetic elements as well. Eleanor has a particular interest in recycling and repetition of words and material that often subtly or gradually emerges or takes shape over time. She is interested in finding forms, durations and environments that suit her ideas and make sense as performances and/or documents of her work. Eleanor’s work has been performed by UK based ensembles the Part Singers, Drift ensemble, An Assembly, Apartment House and Tre Voci; and soloists including guitarist Craig Ogden, soprano Juliet Fraser and flautist Kathryn Williams. Eleanor’s work has been exhibited within exhibitions curated by UK based artists Charlotte Cullen, Jude Lin and Jorge Boehringer. She has had work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Resonance FM. Eleanor has an MA in Composition by Research from the University of Huddersfield and an undergraduate degree in Musical Performance with first class honours from Brunel University in London.

Pippa Murphy 

Breathe in me 2018 – indian harmonium and electronics (mixed Kate Halsall)

Winner of the 2019 EVM Electroacoustic/sound art work, Scottish New Music Awards

breathe

 (briːð)

vb1. (Physiology) to take air into the lungs and then expel it, especially as a regular physiological process

2. (intr) to exist; be alive: 

3. (intr) to rest to regain breath, composure, etc:

4. (intr) (esp of air) to blow lightly: 

5. to exhale or emit: 

6. (tr) to impart; instil: 

7. (tr) to speak softly; whisper: 

8. (tr) to permit to rest:

9. (Textiles) (intr) (of a material) to allow air to pass through so that perspiration can  evaporate

Pippa Murphy is an award-winning composer, sound designer and producer who scores for film, theatre, dance and concert hall.  Her stylistic breadth has established a reputation as a highly versatile composer with a unique cross-disciplinary understanding of storytelling and creative collaboration.

Her album with Karine Polwart ‘Pocket of Wind Resistance’ was nominated for BBC Folk Album of the Year 2018 and won the SAY Award 2018. She composed ‘Anamchara – Songs of Friendship‘ for Scottish Opera with writer Alexander McCall Smith as part of the Commonwealth Games 2014 Glasgow.

Pippa was classically trained on piano, violin and percussion from an early age and completed her BMus, MA and PhD in instrumental and electroacoustic composition at The University of Birmingham. She lectures at Edinburgh University and guest lectures at Royal Conservatoire Scotland and St Andrews University. She is currently Artist in Residency at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh and is under commission by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Dunedin Consort, Mahogany Opera Company and Glasgow School of Art Choir. She was Artist in Residence at the Scottish Parliament (2014) and Vice-Chair of Sonic Arts Network (now Sound and Music) for 5 years. She has written articles for Whitakers Almanac, The Sunday Times and The Scotsman.