Musiqa Brings Brass Concerts to Market Square Today
The first brass piping from the Louis and Annie Friedman Clock Tower (also known as the Market Square Clock) will occur today, October 25, 2013 at 12:15pm. As part of two unique grant projects funded by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, University of Houston student Russell Haehl will perform a brief Musiqa-commissioned composition by Adam Beard, a student composer from the University of Houston's Moores School of Music.
This will launch a 6-month process in which each month another student composer will be added to the program with a new brass premiere. Each time the number of instruments will increase until the final performance in March will be approximately 45 minutes long and include a total of 6 new compositions and 6 performers.
This project is one aspect of the public art clock tower project, What Time Is It?, by artist Jo Ann Fleischhauer, and the hourly sound composition by Musiqa's Artistic Director Anthony Brandt and Chapman Welch titled C O'Clock that began on September 28th.
The work explores the concept of time and the relevancy of its physical markers in a digital age by interrogating the place of a clock tower in our everyday lives. In What Time Is It?, applied mirror panels effectively dematerialize the physical structure of the clock tower to the point of disappearance. A spiral staircase winds its way up and into the tower leading to the actual clock hovering at the top.
Together, mirrors and staircase deemphasize the architecture of the tower and instead put visual emphasis on the clock and bell, a clock however, which is not tolling time as expected.Backlit images of historical notes and calculations about space and time that appear as constellations in the sky become the backdrop for the actual clock faces, their visibility and prominence shifting in intensity as the projected light circles through different shades of brightness and temperature.
Musiqa's collaboration addresses the auditory nature of the clock tower by replacing the scheduled chimes of bells with original musical works inspired by the site. C O'Clockcomposed by Anthony Brandt and Chapman Welch runs through the entire duration of the exhibition by replacing the ringing of the bell with a progression of chords that rise and set like the sun. Each chord is complemented by ringing sounds that are improvised by a computer and make each tolling unique and unpredictable. The sound source of both the underlying chords and the improvisations is Market Square itself, recorded street noise, which is filtered until it turns into pure tones. Musiqa will offer a full concert in celebration of this work for free in Market Square Park on Friday, November 8 at 7:30 pm, sponsored by Houston Downtown Management District.