Music For Heaven came about when sculptor Michael Hayden was commissioned to create a permanent piece for The Gallery Of Modern Art in Glasgow, UK in 1994. It is installed in a space between a newly constructed wing of the gallery and the old building. Michael calls this an “inside-outside” sculpture. The space is four storeys high and contains stairways and an elevator which leads to the four floors of the galleries. At the top of this space is the actual sculpture which Hayden has called Heaven. It is constructed using specially developed opalescent holographic paints. The entire space is filled with music provided by 4 CD players. The soundtrack became Music For Heaven.
Each CD player sends a music programme to one of the four stories of the space and plays independently of the other three and is not time-coordinated with them. The auditor of the music will experience a blend of the 4 soundtracks unique to his/her position in the space and the coincidence of materials from each of the 4 CD’s. Each CD consists of a number of tracks (typically four or five) which are programmed by the CD player to play in random order. It is unlikely that as Music For Heaven plays continuously it would ever repeat. The mood of the music is generally ‘ambient’, peaceful, with constantly shifting colours and rhythms.
Each of the four spaces is associated with an element: fire (bottom), earth, water, air (top). Each element is associated with an instrumental group:
– fire strings
– earth percussion
– water piano, sounds of nature (crickets, birds, water etc)
– air shakuhachi and voices
Electric guitar is a maverick and moves from element to element. The musical materials are very simple, being largely minimalist, gestural, although melodies do appear and a simple chorale-like melody recurs.
In order to perform Music For Heaven the following are required (16 players):
– string quartet
– 2 percussionists
– piano, tape deck (or minidisk player) with 2 loudspeakers and amplifier
– shakuhacki, 6 female singers, trumpet
– electric guitar
No conductor is required. The pianist can operate the sound system. Each element/ensemble will determine for themselves the order in which to play the various sections (movements) of their music before any given performance. A single performance may be as long as required, probably no shorter than 40 minutes.
This is an audio version of “Air” heard with “Earth”
And now we can hear “Water” with “Fire”
scroll below for a video of the installation.