Guildhall School of Music and Drama have created six 25-minute animated sound works for the ThriveLDN World Mental Health Day Festival held on 10 October 2020. Composed at the start of the lockdown this year, the pieces aim to encourage listeners to take a pause with meditative sounds and visuals.
‘Songs without Words’ by Bretton Brown (Vocal Studies tutor) is about the desire to connect during a crisis when we are asked to be alone. The piece is built from a chain of classical songs — each begun by a pianist as expected, each breaking off the moment the singer should come in. The pauses that follow have been recorded by friends and family in 17 international cities, including Amsterdam, Hobart, Madrid, New York, Paris, and Sarajevo. These pauses symbolise the physical absence of others from our lives during lockdown, the unanswered questions of the piano like the one-sided conversations we imagine having with those unreachably far away.
‘ELEMENTS’ by Fernando Machado (Masters in Leadership, alumni) offers the listener a nurturing respite in challenging times. The sound bath envelops us in a warm, nourishing and harmonic environment, which both grounds and lifts on spontaneous energy flows. In this rapidly changing world, this piece emulates the four constants that connect us all - the elements of water, air, fire and earth.
‘Solus’ by Samuel Dinley (Electronic Music) was composed using manipulations of sound recordings taken from environments that were made to adjust during the Coronavirus pandemic: using music technology to create digital instruments stemming from sounds found during times of isolation. These interweave and blend with synthesised, experimental and electronic sounds to produce a unique and stimulating electroacoustic sound world.
‘Nada Brahma’ by Eden Lonsdale (Composition) is an attempt to create an immersive sound environment that washes away the dreariness of lockdown life. In times where we can‘t go out in search of musical experiences, we may find it through musical reflection and introspection.
‘There was Silence’ by Anna Semple (Composition) offers space for pause and thinking on the nature of isolation, and how sound defined aspects of our experiences in lockdown. The artist used crowd sourced 5-second sound summaries of people’s lockdown experiences, sourced via social media, along with soft sounds recorded of the artists own environment, to produce an ambient, but ever-changing soundscape.
‘A Synthetic Symphony’ by JJ Hathaway (Composition, alumni) is a symphonic work consisting of four simultaneous musical narratives that unravel themselves, while interweaving, interacting and reacting to one another. The artist created the work in isolation, creating a 20 instrument ensemble work through electronic technologies and synthesisers.