“Hall of Mirrors” by Robert Rowe

  • ©, , Hall of Mirrors


    Hall of Mirrors

Artist(s) and People Involved:



Artist Statement:

    Composed by Robert Rowe, performed by Harry Sparnaay

    Hall of Mirrors (1986) is a duet for a human playing a bass clarinet and the 4X computer system. The computer takes in the sound of the bass clarinet and reflects it, sometimes faithfully, sometimes not. The human listens to what the computer does and modifies his own performance according to how his partner is playing. Humans and computers are very different things: Hall of Mirrors is an effort by the composer to let them make music together, realizing and emphasizing each other’s strengths. All of the sounds you hear come from the bass clarinet: the computer only shuffles around with what it hears, or multiplies it, or changes its speed. The image of the title comes from an idea of the piece as a series of reflections, fragmented, distorted, or true, cast back from the two patterns onto each other. The version of the piece played today uses a tape recording of the 4X part: since the performace of both partners changes with each playing, this represents a snapshot of the possible outcome. Hall of Mirrors is a commission from the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst of the Dutch Ministry of Culture. The support of IRCAM is also gratefully acknowledged.


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