“I was intrigued by Mozart Sonatas and remixed them using the language of electro-acoustic music combined with piano. I’m a keen pianist, instead of playing the music myself I had the idea of using recordings of other people playing, and manipulate their recordings. So I took twelve piano sonatas and chopped the scores into bars and sections, I put them in a bag so to speak and took bits out and started to sequence them.
I then began to change the pitches, process the sound, do the same sort of things that DJs do with scratching and the spinning turntable and different speeds. I used computer software, some of which was written in my laboratory at Plymouth University. In performance the pianist plays the score and I sit next to the pianist with my laptop and trigger the sounds that I composed from the recordings at different points indicated in the score, so the performer knows exactly how and when the recordings will come with music he or she is playing. Pianists will have performed Mozart sonatas before, and what I wanted to achieve is that the performer would be surprised by the sequences that I have in my score that combines, let’s say, sonatas K310 with K280 and so on, so you have new combinations of bars from different sonatas. And also in the recording that I processed, you can hear themes that are transposed, or are at different speeds, or even played backwards and so on.
The whole piece is around 15 minutes long. The first movement is “Appassionata”, a reference to Beethoven – in working on this piece I discovered some themes, bits and pieces here and there, small segments by Mozart that appear in Beethoven and Haydn; these composers were recycling other music that they’d heard elsewhere more than other composers do and it’s so interesting to see how much they were doing this. So I called it “Appassionata” because there are some Beethoven-like themes in there. The second movement is called “Dance of Shadows”. Here I used stuff from Gluck’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” which again I think is very similar to bits one can hear in Mozart’s sonatas.
The third one is “Hip-Hopped” because it uses hip hop rhythms, the pianist has to synchronise the beats I wrote with the hip hop drumming that is going on in the recording. The process of making this piece reminds me something Mozart did with his musical dice games where you throw dice and depending on what number you get you sequence the bars, and maybe the procedures used by other composers like John Cage.” (Eduardo Reck Miranda)
Mozart Reloaded is available on CD with accompanying book detailing the compositional process, the full score and all samples required for performance:
Eduardo Reck Miranda is a composer and computer music expert, working at the crossroads of music and science. He is also director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research with Plymouth University and currently Composer in Residence at London’s Science Museum, developing a work with Lottolab Studio in which live music performance is relayed to soundwall of 77 speakers and electronically manipulated.
Connect with Eudardo at http://neuromusic.soc.plymouth.ac.uk/