How Daphne Oram’s radical turntable experiments were brought to life after 70 years

“As the players ramp back up, the live orchestra, conducted by Robert Ames, engages in conversation with the recorded one. Feshareki adding colour with stabs of noise and cosmic dings and squeals. A bank of warped brass and strings rises to an intense volume before dropping to silence. The audience is breathless. It’s both dreamy and cathartic; like nothing St John’s – or, indeed, anyone – has heard before. The piece is ‘Still Point’, an early work by electronic music pioneer Daphne Oram, receiving its extremely belated debut as part of the Southbank Centre’s Deep∞Minimalism festival. Written in 1949 for “double orchestra”, treated instrumental recordings (in the form of three 78rpm discs) and five microphones. ‘Still Point’ is held to be the first composition to combine acoustic orchestration with live electronic manipulation.”

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