Ian Stewart



Soprano saxophone : scratch DJ/turntables
(11 minutes)

First Performance November, 2005
Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama
Glasgow - Scotland

Carole Sutherland : Soprano saxophone
Michael Peck : Turntables
Diana Salazar : Sound projection

Velez - soprano saxophone/scratch DJ

Live recording of First performance

Programme Notes:
I have always been interested in the various classical compositions that used pre-recorded tape, particularly from the '60s and early '70s. The combination of live performer and a fixed, immutable tape element produces an unique quality that I like, so much so that I have often written for a group of performers playing along with a recording of themselves.
Another element to pre-recorded sound is that since the rise of techno and other electronica styles certain things can either not be performed live, or are meant to be played by machines.
The electronic percussion sounds used in so much music now are invariably recorded, and even big name performers will often have the drums and rhythm tracks played back on sampling drum machines or computers. Velez brings together three sound worlds I like very much: the classical saxophone, electronic percussion and turntables.
Whether turntables are instruments in their own right or playback devices in a different context is an argument I do not think will be resolved. However to me a scratch DJ is a musician who can produce sounds and textures that cannot be produced any other way. Concert music frequently takes rhythms and sounds from non-concert styles and in Velez I have taken the relentlessness of electronic percussion, the hard percussion sounds, and other elements of urban styles of drum programming for a recital work.
Many people hanker after the reputation of being innovative, fortunately I cannot make such a claim. Various composers have written for pre-recorded sound and live instruments. And as for turntables in a concert composition, John Cage beat me by decades, using two turntables in Imaginary Landscape no.1 in 1939.