With the goal of taking contemporary classical music outside of the concert hall, Musiqa Artistic Director Anthony Brandt has collaborated with composer Chapman Welch and visual artist Jo Ann Fleischhauer to create the public art installation 'What Time Is It?' Musiqa offers this collaborative effort to present a musical performance exploring the concept of time.
Brandt welcomed Fleischhauer’s approach about collaborating on an installation that would transform the clock tower in Market Square—Houston’s oldest plaza. Now that we all have wrist-watches and smartphones, the role of a clock tower has changed. Without the need for a bell to signify alarms or specific hours of the day, Fleischhauer, Brandt and Welch have transformed the Louis and Annie Friedman Clock Tower into an installation that merges art and music. The installation opens on September 28th and will be on display until late March 2014.
"I don't often get a chance to write a piece where people will be exposed to it for six months,” Brandt said. “It is a unique and exciting challenge.”
Brandt and Chapman’s solution is to tell time by musical means rather than by counting tolls. There are twelve Major chords in the Western musical system, just as there are twelve hours on the face of a clock. At the top of each hour, one of a fixed series of chords will sound for two minutes; over the course of the day, the chords rise and fall with the sun, so that someone who frequents the square will gradually be able to tell time by listening to the chord. The title “C O’Clock” refers to the fact that a C-Major chord sounds at noon and midnight.
|Tommy Gregory from Houston Arts Alliance|
On top of those chords, Brandt and Welch have designed a computer program that improvises ringing sounds, evocative of the original bell. The computer chooses from twelve possible “scores:” the scores are rough guides and give the computer a lot of leeway, so that no hour will sound the same and no two days will be alike.
Brandt and Welch were very conscious that their music is a “guest” in the Square: their goal is to create an experience that is fresh and attractive, giving listeners something engaging to experience but also capable of comfortably lying in the background.
|HAA's Tommy Gregory Installing Fleischhauer's Art Piece|