CDs from Stephen Travis Pope
NOTE: These are obsolete; Please see the Ritual and Memory
collection released on EMF Media.
CD 1 -- Ritual Places -- 1978-2002 -- 22 Tracks,
[Tracks 1-6] Kombination XI (A Ritual Place for Processed Voices)
Slow quiet ritual/liturgical music for processing one's grief.
Alto, 1978-90, revised Santa Barbara, 1998 - 14:25 min., six movements.
Processed voices derived from two speakers reading a poem by Helmut
[7-9] Day, An Improvisation (Excerpts)
Light jazz algorithmic improvisation for synthesizers. Palo Alto,
- three excerpts, 10:40 min. Structured computer/synthesizers
using low-end inexpensive equipment.
[10-11] Four Magic Sentences
Abstract chaotic mantra. Berlin/Santa Barbara, 2000 - 1:00 min. Mantra
for 20,000 processed voices speaking poetry in four languages, repeated
[12-13] Sensing/Speaking Space
Sounds from a contemplative installation (a "Zen garden"). Santa
2001-02; 9:06 min. Computer-processed voices, bells, and natural sounds
for a gallery installation.
[14-17] Gates Still Open: Eternal Dream
Silly noisy pandemonium for voices and drums. Santa
2000-02; 13:38 min. Computer-processed voices, percussion samples,
Speak'n'Spell, and synthetic sounds. Dedicated in gratitude to my
[18-22] 4: Ballet Music for My Siblings
Minimalist ballet based on a series of children's dances.
1980-82 - 23 min. Ballet music for the prototype IRCAM digital
and recorded natural sounds (water and bells). Dedicated to my siblings
CD 2 -- Dunkelkammergespräche -- Invented
-- 22 Tracks, 60:42 Minutes
[1-6] Paragraph 31: All Gates Are Open (A National Anthem)
Stockholm, 1992/93 - 30 min. Processed voices of the Kings of
1 - Introduction (1:00)
2 - Dreaming and Waking (7:40)
3/4 - Eternal Life (6:00 + 2:30)
5 - Also Love (7:32)
6 - All the Same Song (5:18)
[7-12] Requiem Aeternam Dona Eis
Salzburg/Munich, 1983/84 - 14 min. Computer-synthesized bell-like
3 movements from the Requiem Mass
7 - Dies Irae, Dies Illa (2:15)
8 - Lux Aeterna (2:16)
9 - Libera me (2:13)
10 - Dies Irae, Dies Illa (2:07)
11 - Lux Aeterna (2:07)
12 - Libera me (2:06)
[13-22] WAKE: Ten Tangents for Dance
Toronto, 1979/80 - 18 min. (10 movements)
SSSP digital synthesizer with organ- and voice-like sounds
13 - EW (1:17) 14 -
15 - ED (1:36) 16 - EF (1:34)
17 - ER (1:15) 18 - AZ (1:55)
19 - AX (1:56) 20 - AS (2:16)
21 - AW (1:49) 22 - AQ (2:17)
Complete Program Notes
I intend this music for rituals, prayer, meditation, or to animate
spaces, rather than as "absolute" concert music. Music that is removed
a concrete and relevant social/spiritual context has no life. True
is the sound of active faith.
CD 1: Ritual Places
CD 2: Dunkelkammergespräche
The pieces in this collection stem from over 24 years work in
in Austria, France, Sweden, Canada, The Netherlands, Germany, and the
using a range of composition and production techniques. My most common
source is the human voice in prayer. Headphones are recommended, as is
darkness while listening.
CD 1 Tracks 1-6: Kombination XI (A Ritual Place for Voices based on
Poem by Helmut Heissenbüttel)
Slow quiet ritual/liturgical music for processing one's grief. Realized
at the Vienna Music Academy, CCRMA/Stanford, ParcPlace Systems, Inc.,
the QuickSilver studios, 1978-90, revised 1998 at the CREATE studio at
UC Santa Barbara, 14:25 minutes. First performance: STEIM Foundation
series, Amsterdam, April, 1990.
Kombination XI is a ritual or a place where one goes--a mood and an
environment described in sound. Kombination XI can best be listened to
as liturgical music for a ritual that aims to free the listener from
un-lived grief. This is the first movement of a four-part mass (work in
progress). All of the sound material for the piece (with the exception
of the pedal tone), is derived from the recorded voices of two people
the text of Heissenbüttel's poem Kombination XI. These sounds are
processed and mixed in the style of musique concrète collages.
XI consists of 6 sections: a prelude, the four stanzas of the poem, and
a postlude. Text (next page) by Helmut Heissenbüttel,
1956, reused by permission of the Bechtle Verlag (Translation by
Pope, Vienna, 1978).
Kombination XI, Helmut Heissenbüttel, 1956
(1) Die Nacht ist ein Muster aus Bogenlampen und
The night is a pattern of arc lamps
and auto tail lights.
Auf der reglosen Fläche der Alster stehen die weissen Fahnen
On the unmoving surface of the river
stand the white flags of night.
Unter den Bäumen gehen die Schatten.
Under the trees walk the shadows.
Schattengitter über dem schmelzenden Eis
Shadow-grids over the melting ice
Auf Spiegelstelzen stehen die Lichter am Ufer.
On mirror-stands stand the lights on
Die unbelichteten Stellen verblühen.
The unlight places wither.
(3) All diese Sätze
All these sentences
Das Inventar der Gelegenheiten
The inventory of the possibilities
Gerede von Schallplatten
Talking on records
Das Gedächtnis von Tonfilmstreifen die abgespielt sind
The memory of sound-film-strips that
are played out
(4) Und die Fragen sind die Sätze die ich nicht aussprechen
And the questions are the sentences
that I cannot pronounce.
Und die Gedanken sind die Vögel die wegfliegen und nicht
And the thoughts are the birds that
fly away and do not return.
CD 1 Tracks 7-9: Day, an Improvisation (excerpt)
Light jazz algorithmic improvisation for synthesizers. Realized at
PARC and the composer's home, Palo Alto, 1987, 3 excerpts, 10:40
Day is an interactive algorithmic composition to be performed live
(by computer and MIDI equipment) as an installation in multiple city
(busses, subways, plazas, etc.). It is intended as a positive-thinking
sound track for the day. The concert version consists of three short
from different parts of the day.
9 - Early morning (5:35)
10 - Just before noon
11 - Late evening (2:00)
CD 1 Tracks 10-11: Four Magic Sentences
Abstract chaotic mantra. Realized at the Electronic Studio of the
University of Berlin and the CREATE studio at UC Santa Barbara,
2000, 1:00 minute, repeated twice. First performance: Santa Barbara,
Four Magic Sentences is scored for 20,000 voices speaking four
(English, Swedish, German, and T'ang Dynasty Chinese). It is a study
a larger work-in-progress entitled ...nor shall my sword sleep in
The piece is intended as a mantra to be listened to several times in
for the full effect.
CD 1 Tracks 12-13: Sensing/Speaking Space
Sounds from a contemplative installation. Santa Barbara/Havana,
9:06 minutes. Computer-processed voices, bells, and natural sounds for
a gallery installation.
Sensing/Speaking Space is an interactive installation developed in
collaboration with the installation artist George Legrady and premiered
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in February, 2002. It was our
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.
This version of Sensing/Speaking Space is a stereo mix of the layers.
It was "played" live to illustrate the interrelationships of the layers
and their responsiveness to user input. The constant chanting bell
is reading the poem Ywe Ye, Yi Jr Di by the T'ang dynasty Chinese poet
CD 1 Tracks 14-17: Gates Still Open: Eternal Dream
Silly noisy pandemonium for voices and drums. Santa
2000-02; 13:38 minutes. Computer-processed voices, percussion samples,
"circuit-bent" Speak'n'Spell, and synthetic sounds.
Paragraph 31 of the constitution of the Kingdoms of Elgaland/Vargaland
(KREV) is "All Gates are Open." This is also the title of my 1992
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
text are "Evigt...dröm" (Eternal Dream), 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 is "Ingen har dott av
(loosely: "You know, no one has died of love; no one has ever died of
The voices are those of Michael von Hausswolff and Leif Elggren,
Eva de Fontana, Susanne Engberg, and from a "circuit-bent"
toy speech synthesizer courtesy of Brent Lehman.
As with most of my music, Gates Still Open: Eternal Dream has a strict
classical form (exposition, development 1, development 2,
so that it could be called Sonata in A for Voices and Percussion, opus
18. As to why I made this, 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 heard the words of the angels, will try to
these hymns in such a way that the angels will be attracted." Gates
Open: Eternal Dream is dedicated in gratitude to my favorite monkey.
CD 1 Tracks 18-22: 4 - Ballet Music for My Siblings
Minimalist ballet based on a series of children's dances. Realized at
IRCAM center, Paris (using a real-time synthesizer and control
built by Didier Roncin and controlled by a PDP-11/60 computer), and the
studios of the Mozarteum, Academy, Salzburg, 1980-82, 23:00 minutes.
performance: Venice (Biennale di Venezia), September, 1982.
4 is a mix of computer-generated sounds (taken from a suite of
[or microtonal] children's dances I wrote for my God-children) and
concrete sounds (bells, glass, and flowing water). It is intended to
dance or performance art and to celebrate the gifts of life and
Realized with the support of the Salzburg Cultural Council. 4 is
to my four siblings, and to Jeremias and Sahra Meyer, and Jana and
CD 2: Dunkelkammergespräche
Each of the three extended compositions on the second CD introduces an
imaginary language and then tries to create poetry in it.
CD 2 Tracks 1-10: WAKE: Ten Tangents for Dance
Quiet hymns for slow movement. Realized at the University of Toronto
Sound Synthesis Project studio using a digital synthesizer controlled
a PDP-11/45 computer, 1979/80, ten movements, 17 minutes. First
Toronto, May, 1980
The original (graphical) score was written for organ solo, and is
to call spirits into the space where the piece is performed. The sound
fragments used in the computer realization are taken from spoken tones
and are processed and spatialized according to phonetical as well as
grammars. Realized with the support of the Canada Council and the
1 - EW (1:17) 2 - ES (1:12)
3 - ED (1:36) 4 - EF (1:34)
5 - ER (1:15) 6 - AZ (1:55)
7 - AX (1:56) 8 - AS (2:16)
9 - AW (1:49) 10 - AQ (2:17)
CD 2 Tracks 11-16: Requiem Aeternam Dona Eis
Requiem for bells. Realized at the CMRS studio, Salzburg and PCS GmbH,
Munich, 1984/85. six movements, 13:20 minutes.
Computer-generated music using simple bell-like sounds. The three
map onto three parts of the Requiem Mass (Dies Irae, Dies Illa; Lux
and Libera me), and are repeated twice with variations. Requiem is
to my late friend and colleague Stephan Kaske (1962-1985); it was
in part by the ARA expert system program.
11 - Dies Irae, Dies Illa
14 - Dies Irae, Dies Illa (2:07)
12 - Lux Aeterna
15 - Lux Aeterna (2:07)
13 - Libera me
16 - Libera me (2:06)
CD 2 Tracks 17-22: Paragraph 31: All Gates Are Open (A National
Realized at the STEIM Institute, Amsterdam, the EMS studio, Stockholm
the Swedish Institute for Computer Science, 1992-1993, five movements,
30 minutes. First performance: Stockholm, April, 1993.
The piece serves as one possible national anthem for the imaginary
or virtual nation of Elgaland/Vargaland (KREV; for details see
The text of the Swedish poem Sol och Guld (Sun and Gold) by King
Hausswolff and King Leif Elggren serves as the basis of the piece. All
Gates Are Open is a text-sound piece that uses the voices of the two
in a tongue-in-cheek four-movement divertimento/suite filled with
puns and word-plays. The sentences that make up the introduction (and
names of the five movements) are:
Dreaming and waking
All the same song
namn, namn, namn munch, munch, munch
The text is as follows.
Sol och Guld
(by C. M. von Hausswolff and L. Elggren)
Frihet och dygd. Mod och ära. Evigt liv.
Folk och stat. Jord och rymd. Sol och guld och evigt liv.
Och kärleken. Spira och svärd. Konungen.
Fullkomlig frid. Dröm och vaka. Evigt liv.
Så född och formad. Jag, gud och du.
Räds varken mörker och djävulens hav,
varken tid eller plats uti land och i hav.
At nu upp din gröt. Namn, namn, namn.
Blicken framåt för alla folk och djur
och bakåt på samma gång.
I samma språng.
En enda sång.
Mesmerizing [...] there is a wealth of subtle variety in the timbres.
invited the listener's close attention and in return offered an
pas de deux. (Ira Mowitz in Computer Music Journal) The piece seems to
learn its behavior from itself, the melodic/rhythmic material
evolving like a good improviser. (Larry Austin in Perspectives of New
I am consistently drawn in to explore this sound and feeling world. The
sense of structure is strongly evident at both micro- and macro-levels.
[...] This piece works both as music and as ritual. (Craig Harris in
A compelling exploration of the mutagenesis of poetry into music. It is
a serious work which merits close listening. (Rick Bidlack in
Texturally rich--something lacking in most computer music--and
intriguing. (Jim O'Rourke in Your Flesh)
About the Composer
Stephen Travis Pope (b. 1955, New Jersey, USA), studied at Cornell
the Vienna Music Academy, and the "Mozarteum" in Salzburg, Austria,
a variety of degrees and certificates in electrical
science, recording engineering, and music theory and composition. He
taught both music and computer science at the graduate level. From 1988
to 1997, he served as editor-in-chief of Computer Music Journal (MIT
He is active as a composer, a software consultant, as senior research
at the Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) at the
University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and as a lecturer in
UCSB graduate program in Media Arts and Technology (MAT).
He has realized his musical works in numerous computer music studios
in Europe and the USA; his music is available from Centaur Records,
of New Music, Touch, SBC Records, Electronic Music Foundation CDs, and
on MIT Press CD/CD-ROMs. He also has over 80 publications in the fields
of computer music, artificial intelligence, human-computer interfaces,
and object-oriented software. He was elected a lifetime member of the
Computer Music Association in 1990. Stephen lived in Europe (Austria,
and France) from 1977-86, and has spent several years there since then
(in Holland and Sweden). Since 1986, he has lived primarily in
He is a practising Quaker/Friend.
Stephen Travis Pope, Santa Barbara, California USA
© 1978-2006 Stephen T. Pope,
All Rights Reserved.
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a letter to STP.
[Stephen Travis Pope,