Music by Stephen Travis Pope, 1978-2007
These musical compositions are widely performed and broadcast, and are
available on CD or DVD from Perspectives of New Music, CDCM/Centaur
Records, SBC Recordings, The Electronic Music Foundation, Touch
MIT Press Monograph CD/CD-ROM, Disc0 Records, and the Association for
Global New Thought.
As to why I make music, I can only paraphrase Joseph Campbell, "Just
as anyone who listens to the Muse will hear, you can work out of your
intention, or out of inspiration; yes, inspiration, there is such a
it comes up and talks to you. Those who have heard the rhythms and
of the angels, who have understood any of the words of the angels, will
these hymns in such a way that the angels will be attracted."
See also the STP Diskography, Reviews of Stephen's Music, or the
Program Notes for the Ritual and
List of Compositions in reverse-chronological order
invece che il
mondo... Three Quick Snapshots of a Really Beautiful Enigma,
Quartet and Two Pianos, Santa Barbara 2006, 10:00
in 5 movements for samples from "Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae" and "My
Life in the Bush of Ghosts" Santa Barbara 2004-06, 19:40
| Eternal Dream:
A Ritual - Santa
Barbara/Stockholm, 2001/02; 19:10 min. Video
| Leur Songe de
(Their Dream of Peace) - Santa Barbara, 2003, 10:34 min.
Text by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. (1929-68). Video by R. Lane Clark, 2004.
| Gates Still
Open - Santa
Barbara/Berlin/Havana, 2000-02; 13:38 min.
Santa Barbara/Havana, 2001/02; 9:06 min.
| Four Magic
Mantra - Berlin/Santa Barbara, 2000,
| All Gates are
National Anthem for Elgaland/Vargaland - Stockholm, 1992-93,
XI: A "Ritual
Place" for Live and Processed Voices
the Poem by Helmut Heissenbüttel -
Vienna/Stanford/PARC/QuickSilver, 1978-90, 15 minutes.
Installation - Palo
Alto, 1986/87, 12 hours.
Aeternam Dona Eis - Salzburg/Munich,
1984/85, 14 minutes.
|Bat out of
for Dance - Salzburg, 1983, 6 minutes.
Michael Praetorius (1612) - Salzburg,
1983, 3 minutes.
Ballet Music for my
Siblings - Paris/Salzburg,
1980-82, 23 - 64 minutes.
Dance - Toronto, 1979/80, 18 minutes.
The Program Notes
Ora penso invece che il mondo...
Three Quick Snapshots of a Really Beautiful Enigma for String
Quartet and Two Pianos, 10:00 minutes, 2006
"Ora penso invece che il mondo sia un
enigma benigno, che la nostra follia rende terribile perchè
pretende di interpretarlo secondo la propria verità."
"Today, however, I think that the world is an enigma, a benign enigma,
however, which is only rendered terrible by our folly of trying to
interpret it according to some personal truth."
"Heute aber, denke ich, dass die Welt ein Rätsel ist, ein
harmloses Rätsel aber, das nur furchtbar gemacht wird durch
unseren Versuch, es nach einer eigenen Wahrheit zu interpretieren."
Umberto Eco, "Il pendolo di Foucault" (Foucault's Pendulum)
- Andante con brio - 4:26
- Larghetto, cantabile - 2:42
- Andante molto - 2:42
When I was invited to write a piece for string quartet and
electronics for a festival in Cologne marking the 50th anniversary of
the first computer-composed music (a string quartet), the title of this
piece, and its basic form, sprang immediately to mind. This is very
rare for me. During the composition, I used the title to steer my
decisions, and, as a result, what started out to be a complex and
dynamic piece became ever simpler and more directly lovely. As I
repeated "Ora penso invece che il mondo..." it came strongly into focus
that the world-enigma in which we live is quite beautiful and
accessible, even if we can't always understand its underlying
mechanisms. This is the basis of the subtitle "Three Quick Snapshots of
a Really Beautiful Enigma"; the piece's three movements are separate
scenes or venues taking place at the same time all the time. Ora penso
invece che il mondo... is dedicated to my parents Phil and
Polly Pope (who taught me to see the world in many different ways), and
to my dear wife Barbara.
Music in 5 movements for samples from "Lamentatio Jeremiae
Prophetae" and "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" -
19:40 minutes, 2006
- Introduction (De Lamentatione Jeremiae Prophetae) -- 0:56
- Part1 (Jerusalem) -- 4:02
- Part2 (Recordare, Domine) -- 5:20
- Part3 (Plorans ploravit in nocte, et lacrimae ejus in maxillis
- Part4 (Convertere ad Dominum, Deum tuum) -- 4:42
JS CoverFor many years I've wanted to make a tape-based "musique
concrete" style composition using Latin chant from Ernst Krenek's
1941/2 choral piece "Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae" (The Lamentations
of the Prophet Jeremias) together with source samples from the 1981
album "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" by Brian Eno and David Byrne.
This became possible with the release under a liberal copyright of the
original source tracks of the songs "Help Me Somebody" and "A Secret
Life" from "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts." Each of the five
movements of "Jerusalem's Secrets" presents a short phrase from
"Lamentatio" over a backdrop of percussion textures, synthesizer drones
and pedal tones. All of the sounds in "Jerusalem's Secrets" come from
these sources, which were processed in the simplest ways (splicing,
pitch shifting, time stretching, looping, etc.) and layered to make the
composition in the style of tape-based "musique concrete." This music
is intended for multimedia accompaniment (dance or video).
Realized: Santa Barbara/Stockholm, 2002; 19:10 min. Computer-processed
voices, percussion samples, Speak'n'Spell, and synthetic sounds. Video
Eternal Dream is a mixed-media piece for music and video based
extended "remix" version of Gates Still Open augmented by
taken from several of my other pieces.
There are several different videos to accompany the piece, one edited
from the documentary Lucky People Center: International by
Erik Pauser and Johan Söderberg.
First performance: Santa Cruz, August, 2002.
Leur Songe de la Paix (Their Dream of Peace)
Realized: Santa Barbara, 2003, 10:34 min.
Music in three movements for voices, bells, analog synthesizer,
samples, and Morse-code program. Text by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King,
The motivation for "Leur Songe de la Paix" was to provide the simplest
setting for several excerpts from Martin Luther King's famous "A Time
Break Silence" speech, delivered in New York exactly one year before
assassination. The title reflects the discouraged hopes of many in the
movement over recent (2003) events that make Reverend King's words from
even more poignant. In addition to his voice, the material comes from
melody of the Gregorian chant "Ubi caritas" and the "Farewell" movement
Gustav Mahler's "Song of the Earth." The texts of these two sources are
heard as Morse Code (thanks to a program by Nitin Solanki). Formally,
the piece is a traditional Concerto Grosso in three movements
(fast-slow-fast). Released on DVD by the Association for Global New
Thought and the Gandhi/King Season for Nonviolence.
Gates Still Open
Realized: Santa Barbara/Berlin/Havana, 2000-02; 13:38 min.
voices, percussion samples, Speak'n'Spell, and synthetic sounds
About the title and the text: Paragraph 31 of the constitution of the
Elgaland/Vargaland (KREV) is "All Gates are Open." This is also the
of my 1992 national anthem for KREV, which is based on the poem Sol
och Guld (Sun and Gold) by Michael von Hausswolff and Leif Elggren.
My favorite two words of the text are "Evigt...dröm" (Eternal
though they do not appear in that order in the poem. The final line of
piece is from the title of an exhibition by Johanna Ekström, and
"Ingen har dott av Kärlek" (loosely: "You know, no one has died of
love; no one has ever died of love"). The voices are those of Michael
Hausswolff and Leif Elggren, Ingeborg Raggob, Susanne Engberg, and from
a "circuit-bent" Speak'n'Spell toy speech synthesizer courtesy of Brent
Lehman. As with most of my music, Gates Still Open: Eternal
has a strict classical form (exposition, development 1, development 2,
recapitulation) so that it could be called Sonata in A for Voices
Percussion, opus 18. Gates Still Open: Eternal Dream is
in gratitude to my favorite monkey.
Commission for Touch Records.
First performance: Stockholm, May, 2002. Released on CD by Touch Music,
London (KREV + 10 Anniversary CD).
Realized: Santa Barbara/Havana, 2001-02; 9:06 min. Computer-processed
bells, and natural sounds
Sensing/Speaking Space is an interactive installation developed
in collaboration with the video artist George Legrady and premiered at
the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in February, 2002.
It was our intention
to make a contemplative space or "Zen garden" in the gallery space. The
music consists of several layers (drone, singer, water sounds, bells,
etc.); these are "conducted" by the visitors to the installation via a
video camera and computer vision program, which send messages over a
to a SuperCollider program that controls the sound synthesis and
The music is projected over a 6-channel sound system. The CD version of
Sensing/Speaking Space is a stereo mix of the layers. It was
live to illustrate the interrelationships of the layers and their
to user input. The constant chanting bell sound is reading the poem
Ye, Yi Jr Di" by the T'ang dynasty Chinese poet Tu Fu. Details of the
of Sensing/Speaking Space and of the software tools used can be
found on my web site at
Commission for the "23:5 Activating the Media" festival.
First performance: San Francisco, February, 2002. Released on CD by
Disc0 Records (Compilation 2).
Four Magic Sentences: A Mantra
Realized: August - October, 2000 at the Electronic Studio of the
University of Berlin and the CREATE studio in Santa Barbara. 1:00
Four Magic Sentences is based on voices speaking four languages
(English [Justin Bennett and Stephen Pope], Swedish [Michael von
and Leif Ellgren], German [Ingeborg Eva de Fontana], and T'ang Chinese
[Ernest Chin]). It is a study for a larger work-in-progress entitled
shall my sword sleep in my hand." The piece is intended to be listened
to several times in succession (as in a mantra chant).
First performance: Santa Barbara, November, 2000.
Commission for the "State of the Union" CD produced by Elliott Sharp
released by the Electronic Music Foundation.
All Gates are Open-A National Anthem for Elgaland/Vargaland
Realized at the EMS Studio and the Swedish Institute for Computer
(SICS) November, 1992-April, 1993, 26 minutes.
The text of the poem "Sol
och Guld" (Sun and Gold) by Michael Hausswolff and Leif Elggren serves
as the basis for this text-sound piece that uses the voices of the two
poets in a tongue-in-cheek four-movement divertimento/suite filled with
Swedish-language puns and word-plays. All Gates are Open serves as one
possible national anthem for the imaginary or virtual nation of
Commission of the kings of Elgaland/Vargaland.
First performance: Stockholm, April, 1993.
Celebration: Laments and Simple Truths for a Quiet Spiritual Place
Spiritual ritual in four movements based on four texts: (1) Kombination
XI (text by H. Heissenbuettel); (2) Ywe Ye, Yi Jai Di (text by Du Fu);
(3) To My Younger Brother (text by Du Fu); and (4) Simple Truths-Hymn
by Albert Goldbarth). Realized at the composer's home, the Center for
Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Stanford, and the Stichting
Elektro-Instrumentale Muziek (STEIM), Amsterdam, 1989-1992, 60 minutes
(work in progress, first movement finished 4/1990).
Commission of the STEIM Institute.
The four parts of this ritual piece use live and processed voices
with actors carrying out various ritual processes. First performance:
XI), STEIM, Amsterdam, May, 1990.
Kombination XI: A "Ritual Place" for Live and Processed Voices
the Poem by Helmut Heissenbüttel
Realized at the Vienna Music Academy, CCRMA/Stanford, ParcPlace
Inc., and the QuickSilver studios, 1978-90, remastered 1998, 15
Kombination XI is a ritual or a place where one goes--a mood and an
in sound. Kombination XI can best be listened to as liturgical music;
is the first part of a trilogy of laments which is the prime component
of a new sacred ritual for the 21st century. All of the sound material
for the piece (with the exception of the pedal tone ), is derived from
the recorded voices of two people speaking the text of
poem Kombination XI. These sounds are processed and mixed in the style
of musique concrète collages. Kombination XI consists of 6
prelude, the four stanzas of the poem, and a postlude. The musical form
is that of a rondo. First performance: STEIM, Amsterdam, May, 1990.
Released on CD by the CDCM (The
Virtuoso in the Computer Age, CDCM Vol. 13) and by Touch/OR records (Or
Computer Music Volume 1).
Realized at Xerox PARC, ParcPlace Systems and the composer's home, Palo
Alto, 1987, 12 hours. Algorithmic composition to be performed live (by
computer and MIDI equipment) as an installation in multiple city
(busses, subways, plazas, etc.). The concert version consists of a tape
of three 4-minute segments from different parts of the day.
Requiem Aeternam Dona Eis
Realized at the CMRS and PCS GmbH, Munich, 1984/85, 14 minutes.
tape music with flexible form for dance.
Three sections that map onto the
three special parts of the Requiem Mass (Dies Irae, Dies Illa; Lux
and Libera me), are repeated twice with variations. Dedicated to my
friend and colleague Stephan Kaske.
Variations for Drago's Pictures - Music for an Installation
Realized at the CMRS, 1984, 60 Minutes. Computer-generated tape music
installation (one week long) at an exhibit of paintings of the artist
Druskoviç. Commission of the artist. First performance: Gallerie
BIMC, Paris, June, 1984.
Bat out of Hell: Stories for Dance
Realized at the CMRS, Salzburg, 1983, 6 minutes. Computer-generated
music for ballet.
This is envisioned as a solo percussion piece for a virtuoso
with 168 microtonally-tuned bells. The two short sections of the work
intended to evoke certain gestures and shadows in dancers. First
Vancouver, Canada (International Computer Music Conference), August,
1985. Available as a recording from Perspectives of New Music (Vol 24)
, SBC Records (II
SBC&M), and the MIT Press (1997 Computer
Music Journal Sound Anthology).
Terpsichore: 2 Dances from Michael Praetorius
Realized at the CMRS (ComputerMusik Rechenzentrum Salzburg) at the
1983, 3 minutes. Computer-generated realization of two of Praetorius'
Commission for the opening of the CMRS.
First performance: Salzburg, August, 1983.
4: Ballet Music for my Siblings
Realized at the IRCAM, Paris and the studios of the Mozarteum,
1980/82, 3 versions between 23 and 64 minutes. Mix of (minimalist)
and recorded concrete tape music.
Realized with the support of the Salzburg
State Cultural Council. Dedicated to my 4 siblings and presented to
as a gift. First performance: Venice (Biennale di Venezia/ICMC 1982),
WAKE: Ten Tangents for Dance
Realized at the SSSP (Structured Sound Synthesis Project) studio,
of Toronto, 1979/80, 18 minutes. Original score for organ solo;
tape music version for dance accompaniment with projections of the
Realized with the support of the Canadian Council for the Arts and the
of Toronto. The performance is meant to suggest the cross-relations of
different dimensions of sounds. The sound fragments are taken from
tones and are processed and spatialized according to phonetical as well
as musical grammars. First performance: Toronto, May, 1980
[Stephen Travis Pope, 2007]