So continuing my exploration of music by contemporary female composers I listened to Rebecka Sofia Ahvenniemi’s Soundtrack for an Imaginary Opera. Ahvenniemi is both a composer and a philosopher who is inviting us, in this work, to reflect on opera as a social construct as much as text and music. There’s lots of information on what she’s getting at plus all the texts at this link.
The texts here are a mix of fragments from opera and other works plus a made up “operatic language” which is a sort of cod Italian. The pieces are all very different with the soundworlds created by what the composer calls “musical dumpster diving”. So, in the first track; “Beauty Hurts”, which riffs off Monteverdi’s Orfeo there are bits of “Monteverdi like” music mixed with strings slipping from arpeggios into slides plus lots of percussion and synthesizer. The second track; “Punish Me”, uses a variety of vocal techniques; speech, whispering, something akin to Sprechstimme and a kind of pop style, backed up by booming percussion and shimmering strings. Continue reading