The method of Longplayer’s composition can be regarded as an algorithm whose variables may be changed to create any number of new compositions. In this sense, Longplayer is itself just one of these possible compositions, its title referring directly to its own extreme duration. Conversely, there exist a number of possible compositions in which Longplayer’s variables are adjusted so that a composition might last only a very short time – an hour, for instance. Shortplayer is the generic name for these possible short-durational compositions, which can be arranged for any group or combination of instruments and/or voices.
For three months, Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh hosted a Longplayer listening post. The opening night, 1 October 2010, saw the world premiere of Shortplayer #1, the first of a new series of compositions by Jem Finer.
Shortplayer #1 is an hour-long composition for 7 brass and reed players based on the compositional principals of Longplayer.
At Wood Street Galleries, the Shortplayer ensemble consisted of:
Roger Day (tuba)
Roger Dannenberg (trumpet)
Jem Finer (trumpet)
Mark Fromm (baritone sax)
Brandon Masterman (soprano sax)
Ben Opie (alto sax)
Lou Stellute (tenor sax)
David Bernabo (musical director)
Thanks to Justin Hopper (without whom Longplayer may never have gone to Pittsburgh), Murray Horne and everyone at Wood Street Galleries.
Excerpt . . .
Shortplayer #2, Shortplayer for 7 Guitars, took place on the 23rd November 2014 at the Feelgood Cafe, Chalkwell Hall, in Southend.
The performance featured:
Mark Cunningham (bass)
Thanks to Sean McLoughlin, Colette Bailey and Justin Hopper.
Shortplayer #3 is 14 minutes and 30 seconds long, and the instrumentation comprises two tones, a bleep, a piano chord, a piano note, three voices singing a singing bowl and a couple of tuning forks.
Performed by Jem Finer, with thanks to Olivia Chaney for singing the singing bowl.
Shortplayer #4 was performed on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 in St Martin’s Church, Exeter, as part of Art Week Exeter 2018.
Shortplayer #4 was realised, according to Shortplayer’s principles, by Emma Welton, and performed by Exeter Contemporary Sounds, joined by staff and students of Exeter University:
Simon Belshaw – melodica & score realisation
Adrian Curtin – cello
Andrew Gillett – viola
Julie Hill – violin
Rebecca Prince – violin
Alfie Pugh – marimba & bongos
January Sim – glockenspiel
Emma Welton – double bass & score realisation
Emma Welton’s Score: Shortplayer #4 – Full Score