Program Notes for Movement 2

by Tod Machover

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Movement 2:

Whereas Movement 1 has the feel of the spoken word and concentrates on audience recordings, Movement 2 is a continuous piece of music with focus on the hyperinstrument performance. The movement starts with a gentle and lyrical section, drawn from the Melody Easel and based on the voice of mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt, in which short and simple melodic fragments are spun into longer and longer phrases, gradually turning into the themes which will be used for the rest of the piece. This is followed by "Minsky Melodies," a piece-within-a-piece, which turns the main libretto from the Brain Opera into song and animated "expressive text" illustrations, with vocal lines recorded by Karol Bennett and Chris Nomura. A buildup leads to the "Brain Opera Theme Song," with wordless melody sung by Karol Bennett, which brings together disjunct motifs from throughout the Mind Forest to create an energetic and syncopated number. Getting ever faster, music from Harmonic Driving is incorporated to provide a rushing climax to Movement 2.

Minsky Melodies (Movement 2): This is a sketch of one of the core sections of the Brain Opera, where key Minsky comments are set to music. Voices in this sketch is Karol Bennett (but will also include Sanford Sylvan and others). The text in this excerpt is:
- Brain Opera, Brain Opera.....
- There are several hundred little pieces of brain that each of us uses.
- There are no instruction manuals and no way to debug it.
- The mind is too complicated to summarize.

Hear a clip (.au 342k)(.wav 3.7mb)(.aiff 3.7mb)

Brain Opera "Theme Song" (Movement 2): This song, here in a sketch featuring the voice of Karol Bennett, comes at the mid-point of the opera, and brings together all of the musical elements of the whole Brain Opera experience - interactive instruments, my music, suggestions of Bach, etc. - into a unified, energetic, and upbeat composition.

Hear a clip (.au 360k)(.wav 4.0mb)(.aiff 4.0mb)