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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

Hot Air
Jonty Harrison

Jonty Harrison (GB), born 1952, is Senior Lecturer in the University of Birmingham and director of the Electroacoustic Music Studios and BEAST (Birmingham Electro Acoustic Sound Theatre), currently Chair of Sonic Arts Network, the UK's national organisation for electroacoustic music and is on the Council of the Society for the Pomotion of New Music.

One of the principal source sounds for this work - balloons from children's parties -gave rise to a train of thought which, after linking "toy" balloons to "hot air" balloons, went on to draw in numerous other concepts of air (breath, utterance, natural phenomena) and heat (energy, action, danger). As work on the sound material progressed, other notions of air became important: motion through space; a certain fleeting quality; and air as the principal medium for the transmission of sound itself. The manner in which this happens became a model for the structure of the piece itself. Gradually, the aspects of the piece revealed the worrying image of the inflated balloon as a metaphor for the fragility of the Earth itself being manipulated, but not infinitely so. But beware! Danger!

I run the risk of becoming too pompous, too "inflated" with the importance of my theme. If what someone says is "hot air", it means it lacks real substance, is rubbish, meaningless, bluff... "Hot Air" was commissioned by the Groupe de Recherches Musicales and sound material was developed using the GRM's Syter and GRM Tools systems; later stages in the compositional process took place in the composer's private studio and in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of The University of Birmingham.