Horatio Oratorio: Composing Using Historic Sound Recordings

Aleks Kolkowski, Federico Reuben

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Horatio Oratorio is a performance and sound installation that employs archival
sound sources, including some of the first recorded utterances and music. These are not only reproduced 'authentically' through phonographs and gramophones, but also used to extract pitches, rhythms and even supply a formal structure for the entire work.
The presenters focus on their collaborative work in mapping the sound recordings using various computer-aided analysis techniques and re-interpreting them using either acoustic instruments or electronic sounds. Recordings are not only to digitally manipulated or transformed, but also become the very substance or building blocks of a musical composition.
Furthermore, archaic recording techniques have been used in this work to age and decay sound: Digitally registered voices, instruments and electronic music are 'processed' by re- recording onto wax cylinders and acetate discs creating temporal shifts within the composition.
A Stroh violinist improvises with an interactive music system that generates, in real-time, his own pre-recorded string sounds emerging from the horns of a remotely activated Stroh String Trio. Hand-cranked horn gramophones play specially recorded acetate 78rpm discs and vintage sound effects, while a complex sound diffusion from eight loudspeakers finds it's counterpart in a huge array of antique horns creating a unique liaison between the contemporary and the obsolete.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventCHARM Symposium 6: Playing wih recordings - Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, UK, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Sept 200813 Sept 2008


ConferenceCHARM Symposium 6: Playing wih recordings
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityEgham, UK

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