Building the Earth, after the ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, was composed by Dwight Frizzell for three varying instrumental groups, seedless grapes, prepared tapes, short wave radio, and audio mixage (created with Tony Allard). Its design was based on the principle of simultaneity, where independently distinct lines of informed sound coming from each participant may mix freely across the performance duration and space.
Building the Earth was conceived specifically for the sanctuary space of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, both in its philosophical and spatial-acoustic aspects. The instrumentalists presented sonic descriptions of phenomena that were graphically notated (magnetospheric flux, tail-wagging dance of bees, etc.) along with sounds that were recognizable as “music”. The sonic information presented fell into three families—The Elementals (matter), The Biophysicals (life), and The Noosphericals (thought).
Building the Earth players:
Thomas Aber (contra alto clarinet, bass clarinet, guida)
Alpha wave encephalogram, polar magnetospheric substorms, birdsong: nightingale (Messiaen transcription), deep-towed magnetic anomaly profile of the earth’s crustal field, Macedonian folk tune (Tom’s choice), and sunspot frequency (1700-1960 CE).
Trilla Ray (cello)
Characteristic EEG curves corresponding to different states of consciousness, x-ray of bird egg, magnetic substorms, the Maunder “Butterfly” diagram of sunspot occurence in time and extent in solar latitude, and radio scintillation of Cassiopeia.
Marc Deckard (short wave radio)
Short wave reception from within expanded score radius (all 7 zones).
Dwight Frizzell and Tony Allard (audio mixage)
Prepared tapes including location recordings of the Palm Sunday Mass at St. Mary’s, grasses and shale at the Wall of Crynoids in eastern Jackson County (courtesy of Mobile Mix Unit), transcription disc recordings of the Republican primary of 1948 (courtesy MAAR Sound Archives), Truman’s NATO speech, regional CB conversations, full-bandwidth whistlers, interplanetary satellite broadcasts, etc.
Jan Faidley (saxophones)
Tail-wagging dance of bees, birdsong: the yellow warbler, the black-throated blue warbler, Japanese folk song, spiraling seashell, solar cycle variations in the axial dipol component from 1900 to 1973, and isophotes of a region of the Milky Way.
Hannah Skupen (viola)
Log-periodic fluorescent emission from the cabbage looper pheromone (female sex scent), oscilloscope recordings of the wing-flapping black-body radiation from a flying corn earworm moth, excerpt from Louis Armstrong’s solo on “Weatherbird” (1923), polar and magnetospheric substorms (December 13, 1957), solar wind parameters during geomagnetic storm (April 17, 1965) and line profiles in the galactic equator.
Leah Hokanson (piano)
Piano finger studies, birdsong: golden oriole (arr. Messiaen) and the Danish chaffinch, solar wind velocity, and radio scintillation from Cassiopeia
Mark Lowry (percussion)
Birdsong: corn bunting, robin, and nightingale; mandalic pattern on seashell, whistlers and lower hybrid resonance noise of the magnetosphere, traditional African folk duet (Pat and Mark’s choice), long term particle intensity variations measured from Explorer 7, and cluster of galaxies (4,364 of the brightest galaxies)
Patrick Conway (percussion, bassoon)
Birdsong: roller canary and border canary , continental tree pipit and Improved Tree Pipit, traditional African folk duet, magnetic field observations during solar eclipse, galactic outburst, star frequency in a cluster of galaxies in Hercules
Hafiza Capehart (flute)
Birdsong including the Nashville Warbler , Canadian Warbler, Chestnut Sided Warbler, Capetown Chaffinch , an evening raga, solar plasma and the planetary magnetic index , phase shifting in the electromagnetic flux (1976), and phase-switching interferometric reading of radio star transmissions from Cassiopeia
Dr. Bruce Prince-Joseph (narration, carillon, organ)
Text from Teilhard’s THE PHENOMENON OF MAN, traditional carillon piece (Bruce’s choice), drift of sunspots expanding space index and look-back time