Martin Arnold (composer)
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Martin Arnold (composer)
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1959 (age 62–63)
Martin Arnold (born September 1959 in Edmonton, Alberta) is a Canadian composer and performer of contemporary music.
Life and career
Arnold studied at the University of Alberta (B.Mus. in Composition, 1981) with Alfred Fischer and Malcolm Forsyth at the University of Alberta. He attended the Banff School of Fine Arts, 1981-82, and was a guest student at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague, Netherlands, 1982-83. At the University of Victoria (M.Mus. in Composition, 1985, and Ph.D. in Composition, 1995), he studied with Doug Collinge and Rudolf Komorous. Since leaving Victoria, Arnold has lived in Toronto. He teaches in the Department of Cultural Studies at Trent University and is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, York University.
Arnold's music has been recorded by the ensemble Quatuor Bozzini (Aberrare), pianist Eve Egoyan (Weave), and violinist Mira Benjamin (Janet). It has been performed at the Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam), Wigmore Hall (London), Glenn Gould Studio and Mercer Union (Toronto), Centre culturel canadien (Paris), Studio 12 (Bratislava), Sheffield City Hall Ballroom (Sheffield, U.K.), and the Museums of Art (Boras and Göteborg, Sweden). A weekend devoted to performances of Arnold's music, entitled of-the-now, was held in Victoria, British Columbia, in 2017.
Influence and style
Arnold has written about the influence of Komorous' "aesthetic of the wonderful" on his music. Komorous developed the aesthetic with musical colleagues in the Czech Republic before emigrating to Canada in 1969. According to Komorous, another translation of the Czech word for wonderful is strange. Composers influenced by the aesthetic seek to create musical encounters with the unexpected.
Arnold's music is characterized by a sense of dislocation and discontinuity, effects which are created using unusual combinations of instruments and timbres. Some pieces are composed for conventional instruments, such as piano and flute, viola and cello, and string quartet. Others are written for ensembles of less conventional instruments including the melodica, electric drawbar organ, hurdy-gurdy, electric tenor banjo, harmonica, and sleighbells. Arnold plays one or more of these instruments in performances and on recordings.
Leaflitters (2010) for solo bass flute and electronics
Janet (2010) for solo voice gating recordings
Liquidambars (2009) for two violins
Aberrare (Casting) (2009) for string quartet
Behind the Shadows (2008)
Water Lens; Water Limbus (2007) for voice gating recording, berimbau, violin, and string bass
Rubber Wain (2007) for 2 clarinets, vibraphone, piano, violin, and cello
Moonlight on the Bluff (2005) for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin and cello
Urchin Points (Hedgehog Knots) (2004) for traverso, harpsichord, Baroque violin, and bass viola da gamba
Herl (2003) for piano
Tam Lin (2003) for improvising trio singing and playing trombone, analog synth., and electric guitar, with clarinet, trumpet, melodica, 2 vibraphones, electric piano, piano, violin, and string bass
Fancy (2002) sound installation involving 4 channels of pre-recorded music/soundscapes, of different lengths, repeating indefinitely, played through 4 speakers
Rubber Wagon (2002) for trombone, guitar, tenor banjo, and analog synthesiser gating recording
Cow-drifting (2002) for trombone, guitar gating recording, melodica gating recording, and analog synthesiser
Scudding Glamour (Ragged, Scud Grammar) (2002) for piano
The Fankle (2002) for piccolo, clarinet, vibraphone, guitar, piano, violin, viola, cello, and gated tapes
Slow Burn & Sloe Air (2002) for bass recorder
Slew & Hop (2001) for viola and cello
Willie O’Winsbury (2001) for voice gating tapes
B.Org (inégale) (2000) for bass clarinet, piano, violin, viola, and cello
Fergus (2000) for melodica gating recording
Loose Warp (2000) for any number of plucked strings and gated recording
Shank/Shank's Pony (2000) for guitar, lap-steel guitar, and analog synth
Idyllily (2000) for string orchestra and choir
(Damper) Coaster (2000) for bass clarinet, trumpet, 2 percussion, piano, violin, and string bass
Play Organum, Work Organum (2000) for piccolo, bass clarinet, trombone, harp, violin, and string bass
Slip (1999) for bass clarinet, piano, violin and cello
Rat-drifting (1999) for piano
Mint (1998) for clarinet, viola, and piano
Jack; Bolt (1998) for singer vocoding tape
Contact; Vault (1997) for string quartet
chamber dérive (1997) for violin and piano
Vines & Tubers (Nightshades) (1. Woody 2. Deadly) (1997) for prepared piano
Cameras (1997) for electric violin gating recording
Concerto in A major (Spillage) (1996) for Baroque bassoon, horn, timpani, portable sampling keyboard, and violin
Smut Mirabilia (1995) for Baroque bassoon, hand horn, vibraphone, piano, and violin
Mole Meander (1995) for soprano recorder, sackbut, and positiv organ
Whistle Vault (1993) for whistling and live electronics
Burrow On (1992) for Baroque bassoon, electronic percussion, Baroque viola, and bass viola da gamba
Burrow Out; Burrow In; Burrow Music (1992-94) tape music involving low-tech., altered, overdubbed recordings of Baroque flute, sopranino recorder, alto recorder, bass recorder, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet, trombone, melodica, Casio D[igital] H[orn]-100, electric organ, string bass, whistling, and humming
Contact Chorales 2. Contact Melodies (1992) for clarinet, trumpet, prepared piano, 2 percussion, and string bass
Press your eyelids with your fingertips (1992) for bass clarinet, bassoon, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet, trombone, vibraphone, drums, electric guitar, accordion, piano, violin, cello, and string bass
Horn and Hardart (after Joseph Cornell; for Mark Ellestad) (1991) for wah-wah bassoon, midi wind controller gating tape, baritone saxophone, vibraphone, piano, and violin
The Booth (1986) for Baroque flute
Reptile-like (1986) for Baroque flute, harpsichord, and bass viola da gamba
Cathedra (1985) for violin and piano
In the media
- Martin Arnold, "Thinking the Wonderful," in Canadian Cultural Poesis: Essays on Canadian Culture, pp. 305-21, edited by Sheila Petty, Garry Sherbert, and Annie Gérin.  Accessed on 11 May 2020.
- "Rudolf Komorous and the 'Aesthetic of the Strange,'" The Globe and Mail, 16 June 2010.
- Nick Storring, "Radical Liminality,"  Retrieved on 10 May 2020
- Höstman, A. (2016). "Tuber, Rhizome, Tendril, and Corm: On the Music of Martin Arnold." Tempo, 70(277), 16-33 . Accessed on 10 May 2020
- Martin Arnold's stream on SoundCloud
- Interview with Martin Arnold in Another Timbre, 2015
- Martin Arnold — actuellecd — The New & Avant-garde Music
- Canadian composer and musician Martin Arnold opens the third Frequency Festival with collaborations with local musicians
- Martin Arnold - Continuum Contemporary Music
- Martin Arnold — SMCQ
- Martin Arnold, Nonpop New Music Composer - Kalvos & Damian
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