PETER OLAF SWANSON
Lasciate Ogne Speranza voi Ch'intrate
for screaming vocalist and chamber ensemble
Op. 7 (2016)
Most people assumed that my senior capstone project at Luther would be something related to the cello, but needing a bit of a break from focusing on cello, I decided to do an original composition instead. Though I'm not 100% sure where the idea originally came from, somehow I settled upon exploring whether it was possible to effectively incorporate the screaming vocal technique of heavy metal (which is actually my favorite genre) into contemporary chamber music. Felt rather daunting at the time.
The work on this piece took pretty much the entire academic year. What is more, I also had to learn how to scream properly so as not to hurt my voice when performing it. My thanks to Jacob Lassetter for advising me with that portion of the project. The text comes from a song called "Depths" by one of my favorite metal bands, Silent Planet. Their lyrical style fit the musical goal perfectly. This piece also pushed me a little outside my comfort zone compositionally, as it makesuse of quarter tones, extended piano techniques, and aleatoric notation.
I was fortunate to get to perform this piece twice at Luther, once for the Music Department Showcase, and once for the Student Research Symposium. As far as I know, this remains the only piece of classical music that uses this vocal technique (though you might be interested in Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King).
Decorah IA, Mar 2016
Decorah IA, April 2016