gothic horror tape work

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"From a Gable Window" is one of the primary works defining the contents of the CD-Selection also downloadable as an mp3 collection called ABYSMAL RITES (copyright registered with APRA, copies available to lend and purchase from the Australian Music Centre). You can download an mp3 version of this recording by clicking the following link:


horror music and audio poems composed by Zachar Laskewicz

The poem above summarises the atmosphere and action within the composition.  From the top of an old and crumbling building, a decrepit and ancient violin player listens to the sounds emerging from the darkness beyond his window.  Something is calling to him, and he closes the window to block out the sound.  The haunted summons continue, passing easily through the glass, so he picks up his violin and begins to play.  The window panes begin to shudder, and the sounds outside become louder and louder. His playing becomes more and more frenetic until the window shatters and he is completely overtaken by the outside forces.

This work is based on the ideas of Howard Philips Lovecraft, a writer famous for his horror fiction, written during the period of the 1920s and 30s.  He worked primarily in a medium which is now recognised as "Cosmic Horror", a detached and haunting form involved with malevolent ancient gods, interstellar travel and nightmare forces of evil.  The themes he worked with were of great and inexpressible proportions, trying to express the fear of things we don't understand, uncontrollable dark forces.  Lovecraft represents these forces as being detached and vast, and most of the people on earth who dabble with them are driven insane by the magnitude of their discoveries.  Identification with his writing shows an interest in that part of our subconscious that takes over when we sleep and dream; like exploring all unknown territories, the fear we feel shows a desire to come to some deeper understanding of this part our psyche.

The work is basically the editing together and manipulation of four musical scenes.  Three of these scenes were recorded in a large hall with stone floors, to provide an awesome and ominous soundscape.  Oneof the scenes was recorded in a smaller acoustic space to provide contrast and room for the climactic build to the shattering glass.  The composition makes use of dramatic effects that exaggerate the drama already present in the untampered scenes.  These effects are functional in the way they imitate what happens in the "programme" of the work (window closing, glass smashing etc) but they still have an impact on the listener if if they don't know the programme.  The composer of this composition considers the work to be as much a musical work as it is dramatic.





(recognition by the composer of the people who helped him realise this project)




"On Wednesday the 16th of May, 1990, 32 local performers and technicians gathered late at night at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts to make a majority of the recordings that were used in the composition.  I would firstly like to thank these people, and those that made it to the rehearsal night but were unable to attend the final recording.  I would also like to thank the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts for the use of their building, Ron Sims for lending recording equipment and Tim White for lending us his Tibetan Singing Bowls.  Wendy Clarke and David Eckersley provided us with two of the Alto Flutes.  Thanks also to the Academy of Performing Arts, the University of WA's Music Department, and the Western Australian Youth Orchestra for lending recording equipment and instruments."  


 - Laskewicz, 1990




Below is a complete list of credits for the technicians and performers who took part in this piece.  All of the scenes within the work were recorded in stereo, and were conducted/directed by the composer.




    Scene Two was recorded in the TV studio at the Western Australian College of Advanced Education (now the Edith Cowan University) on May 2nd.


Sound recordist:    Ron Sims


Performers:              Matt Stapleton - Violin


                                     Jordy Batey - Viola




      Scenes One, Three and Four were recorded in the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts on May 16th from 11:00 PM.


Sound recordist:    Mike Cunningham


Sound Rigging:      Mike Cunningham, Andrew Hiscox and Glenn Stead




Scene One


Oboe: Leanne Glover, Singing Bowls: Liz Jennings, Anton Luiten, Sue Luiten, Vibraphone: Owen Smythe, Bells: Lee Buddle, Solo Voice: Rita Menendez, Alto Flutes: Megan Griffiths, Tricia Evans, Liz Murray, Justine Thornley, Bass Drums: Joakim Hasselblad, Brad Jones, Sibilant Chorus: Paul Cordeiro, Christine Brown, Kelly Lush, Sandra Eldridge, Ross Bolleter, Claire Maree, Sarah Ryan, Louisa Holmes, Blake Barratt, Peter Webb, Liz Segal, Matt Stapleton, Ian McCullough.




Scene Three


Oboe: Leanne Glover, Bassoon: Liz Jennings, Accordion: Ross Bolleter, Slide Whistle: Lee Buddle, Horns: Anton Luiten, Ian McCullough, Piccolos: Megan Griffiths, Justine Thornley, Solo Voice: Rita Menendez, Bass Drums: Joakim Hasselblad, Brad Jones, Vibraphone: Owen Smythe, Strings: Matt Stapleton, Jordy Batey, Sue Luiten, Zachar Laskewicz, Flutes: Tricia Evans, Liz Murray, Alto Saxaphone: Liz Segal.




Scene Four


Singing Bowls: Liz Jennings, Anton Luiten and Clair Magee, Alto Flutes: Megan Griffiths, Liz Murray, Justine Thornley, Tricia Evans, Mournful Chorus: Liz Jennings, Kelly Lush, Gary Burke, Ian McCullough, Andrew Hiscoz, Glenn Haydn, Joakim Hasselblad, Liz Segal, Sue Luiten, Brad Jones, Glenn Stead, Justine Thornley.








*Thanks to Shane Clark for assistance in recording sound effects;


*The wind sound involved the recording of the voices of Michael Ellies, Sarah Ryan and Zachar Laskewicz, and was recorded by Zachar Laskewicz;


*Completed work planned by Zachar Laskewicz, edited and engineerd by Mike Cunningham with assistance from Zachar Laskewicz;




Copyright Zachar Laskewicz 9 June 1990


Composer acknowledges inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft's story "The Music of Erich Zann". 


"From a Gable Window" (poem) by Zachar Laskewicz






May 2008 Nachtschimmen Music-Theatre-Language Night Shades, Ghent (Belgium)
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Last modified:
May 30, 2008