re: LOUD / quiet (was Re: [Fwd: Concerts in Nov.])

Subject: re: LOUD / quiet (was Re: [Fwd: Concerts in Nov.])
From: Micheline Roi (
Date: Wed Nov 17 1999 - 13:04:48 EST

On Monday night I attended a Continuum concert in Toronto where Paul Dolden
premiered his new work Twilight #1, for tape, viola and cello. The volume
of the presentation was anything but loud- quite moderate, in fact. There
was some talk during and after the concert about the change in the volume of
this presentation, theories about him mellowing with age etc.

Curious about this change I questioned Paul about it after the concert and
his reply was that it was his attempt to write slow music. This made sense
to me in many ways, but mainly that the slower pace of the piece allowed a
thinner density of sound thereby allowing the ear to hear more detail at a
lower volume.

All that said, I came away wanting to hear the piece again, but on
headphones, as I feel that there was still a lot of nuance missed that maybe
could have been heard at a higher volume. However, the higher volume would
have totally destroyed the mood of the piece. Conundrum.

Micheline Roi

>From: Chris Meloche <>
>Subject: re: LOUD / quiet (was Re: [Fwd: Concerts in Nov.])
>Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 18:00:42 -0600
>At 11:43 PM 11/15/99 -0700, John Oliver <> wrote:
> >I was at that event too, Chris. I remember it differently. Paul did not
> >spark off the debate after his presentation: members of the audience
> >hurled insults at him, stormed out, etc. Paul responded to some of the
> >insults and accusations rather forcefully if I recall. He met fire with
> >fire.
>I recall that as well. The audience (generally polite Canadians... ahem)
>actually booed him. I believe that his response was something like, "send
>it to me in a letter" or something to that affect.
>I also seem to recall that the work was broadcast on CBC's "Two New Hours"
>and I was wondering if they would include the negative response to the
>diffusion. I seem to recall that they did leave the audience reaction in
>tact and that there was some discussion of this after the piece was played
>on the air.
> >I remember a loud concert. However, I also remember being rather
> >impressed at how Paul achieved high density of sound and high volume
> >without risking hearing overload. There were no dangerous spikes or
> >drastic changes in levels to cause sudden changes in the ear's movement
> >and I remember a balanced representation of all frequencies and enough
> >change of texture to maintain a flow that I did not find damaging to the
> >ears.
>Yes, these textures were even apparent from my vantage point... through the
>walls in the lobby. I believe that this was one of the pieces featured on
>his CD at the time and I found all of the aspects that you mention quite
>apparent even at much lower listening level.
>I find that I can be equally "physically moved" by such a work at a quiet
>monitoring level. I think that the physicality at the lower volume is
>compounded by as much of an emotional state of being pulled into the
>work... as opposed to feeling like I am being beaten over the head by shear

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