Eight channel acousmatic composition awarded First Prize in the 2014 ASCAP/SEAMUS Student Commission Competition.
Composer: John Nichols III
Completed in 2013, GATES is an electroacoustic composition that was partly inspired by the Pleiades constellation. A musical mapping of an image of the constellation occurs in the middle and at the conclusion of the composition. One can hear this depiction in the “wood block” timbres. This representation of Pleiades relates to a passage from Ignatius Loyola’s autobiography, St. Ignatius’ Own Story as Told to Luiz Gonzalez de Camara (1555).
It was his [Ignatius’] greatest consolation to gaze upon the heavens and stars, which he often did, and for long stretches at a time, because when doing so he felt within himself a powerful urge to be serving our Lord.
(From A Commentary on Saint Ignatius’ Rules for the Discernment Of Spirits, Jules J. Toner, 1979.)
I chanced upon this unique passage after an evening of stargazing. Initially, I did not think much of it, but re-evaluated the occasion after unintentionally opening to the following passage in Vladimir Solovyov’s essay, “Nationality from a Moral Point of View” (1895). … “the Spanish genius Ignatius Loyola founded the order of the Jesuits for the struggle with Protestantism on peaceful grounds” (Ed. & Trans. Wozniuk). Following this discovery, and seeing as it was one of two mentions of Ignatius in Solovyov’s entire collection of essays, I resolved to use the musical mapping of the constellation as a central and unifying element in this composition. The title refers to the use of noise gates during the creative process. Bending string and brass timbres, time stretched voice, and layers of filtered noise contribute to the drama of this composition. The composer is grateful for the assistance of the many musicians who participated in recording sessions that were utilized in this composition; especially Chicago-based musician, Tyler Beach, for his valuable insights and session performances on the acoustic and electric guitars.