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CHESS OPERA

Concepts and reference for the opera
by

Digital Attila

on 30 January 2013

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Transcript of CHESS OPERA

CHESS opera­lecture in one act composer:
dramaturge:
stage director:
set designer:
video artist:
choreographer: The 26th of march of 1960, at the Pushkin Drama Theater in Moscow, Mikhail Tal and Mikhail Botvinnik played the 6th game of Chess World Championship. Through their game, this opera will point out the multiple dimensions of Chess: the personal and human side of the contenders, their strategies, the passion for chess in the USSR, and finally the big myths or mysteries that chess involves. mikhail tal mikhail botvinnik 1911 – 1995 1936 – 1992 white ensemble + conductor
+ click track black ensemble + conductor
+ click track DISTRIBUTION EXPLORING THE TWO SIDES OF CHESS AND THE ANALOGIES THAT CAN BUILD THE BASIS OF MUSIC. SINGERS
female
e black pawn – soprano / d white pawn – soprano
black queen – mezzo-soprano / white queen – mezzo‐soprano
male
g black knight – tenor (main role) / b black knight – baritone
a black rook – baritone / a white rook – bass DANCERS
female
c black pawn / f black pawn
e white pawn / f white pawn

male
h black pawn / a white pawn
b white knight / g white knight INSTRUMENTALISTS
woodwinds
g white pawn – flute (female) / d black pawn – oboe (female)
a black pawn – clarinet (male) / h white pawn – clarinet (male) / c white bishop – bassoon (male)

brass
c black bishop – trumpet (male) / f black bishop – horn(male) / white bishop – trombone (male)

strings
b black pawn – violin (female) / g black pawn – violin (female)
b white pawn – violin (female) / c white pawn – violin (female)h black rook – contrabass (male) / h white rook – contrabass (male) + white & black kings – loudspeakers + white & black sides conductors STREAMS LECTURE
Storyline and music interact in multiple points to reveal the signification of this game. GAME
Music works the structure of this game, that is presented on the narrative (sometimes in foreground, sometimes in background). This opera is about chess, seen through the 6th game of World Championship Match 1960. 1. SCHEME Prologue ROOTS OF CHESS. MAGIC OF BLACK&WHITE SQUARED CHESSBOARD without music
text: dialog between conductors of White and Black ensembles Overture CIPHER OF CHESSBOARD moves 1 to 4
text: abbreviations (singing) 1st scene USSR: THE HYPE OF CHESS moves 5 to 11a
text: stories (singing) 2nd scene USSR: CRAVING FOR PROGRESS moves 11b to 14a
text: slogans and abbreviations + mixture of both (speech + singing) 3rd scene TAL & BOTVINNIK: PRIVATE ALBUMS moves 14b to 20
text: stories (singing) 4th scene 6th GAME OF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH 1960 moves 21 to 22
text in foreground: commentary of chess professional (speech on video)
text in background: abbreviations (singing) 5th scene REPORTAGE. THAT DAY, THAT PLACE moves 23 to 25
text: stories (singing) 6th scene DISCIPLINE: GENIUS OF BOTVINNIK moves 26 to 30
text in foreground: commentary of chess professional (speech on video)
text in background: stories and abbreviations (singing) 7th scene DEMISE: GENIUS OF TAL moves 31 to 36a
text in foreground: commentary of chess professional (speech on video)
text in background: stories and abbreviations (singing) Finale NECESSITY OF OPPOSITES moves 36b to 47a 2. LINKS BETWEEN CHESS AND MUSIC 2.1. Differences of sides GAME MUSIC Disposition
At the beginning both sides are situated opposite each other, during the performance they gradually overlap. Color of figures
White and black. Style of chess players playing
Mikhail Botvinnik is known as a representative of “classical” way of playing, Mikhail Tal is known as a representative of “improvisatory” way of playing. Acoustics
There will be two ensembles (white vs. black) situated antiphonally, which will gradually mix together while the game goes on. Color of sound
Each ensemble will be colored by electronic sounds – white noise (white side) and sinusoid (black side). Style of music
Each ensemble will be specified with style/manner of playing – “academic” (white side) vs. “jazz” (black side). 2.2. General rules GAME MUSIC Figures
Movements are structured in pairs and white always moves first:1.1. (white), 1.2. (black)2.1. (white), 2.2. (black) etc. Solo
Each move is marked with a solo of that particular figure to go. Moves on the chessboard
Pieces are moved to either an unoccupied square or one occupied by an opponent's piece, which is captured and removed from play. Solos within the scale
Solo may not go out of the chessboard scale (see next slide). Each tone is connected to actual or possible move in the game. This is a bit related to this Moves
Each figure (pawn, rook, knight, bishop, king, queen) is characterized by it’s own moves. Solos
Each figure will have the character via pitch order within the scale + additional specifics in rhythm, technique of playing, or expression. 2.2.1. Phases Basic idea: game is the music & music is the game. 2.2.1.1. Microform (links to square/quadrate) The opera will be held in one time signature – 4/4.
Exception: depending on situation General Pauses/silences will be organized longer or shorter than 4/4. Each move of the game is 32 bars long in music (16 bars for white, 16 bars for black) The tempo varies depending on the dramaturgical situation. Duration of the move in opera is different from that one in the actual game. The structure of each move (the figure which makes a move has a solo) is represented in the form of consideration → action.Player thinks first and then makes a move. Consideration Action Goes on for most of the time (15 bars). Player thinks of possible moves, the solo consists of these possibilities. At the very end of each zone (bar 16th). Marked with electronic sound. 2.2.1.2. Macroform GAME MUSIC Opening
Typically the first 10 moves, when players move their pieces to useful positions for the coming battle. Overture
We take first 4 moves. It is a representation of both sides (Botvinnik vs. Tal), a representation of all types of figures (except queen) and a representation of overall character of music with a direct link to Finale. Middle game
There is no clear line between the opening and the middlegame. Typically the middlegame will start when most pieces have been developed. Players form plans based on the features of the position, and note the tactical possibilities of the position. Endgame
When most of the pieces are gone, kings take a more active part in the struggle, and pawn promotion is often decisive. Scenes 1 to 7
Clear division between Overture and scene 1.
The content of scenes consists of the analysis of the subject(s).
Scenes are framed by sacrifices/captures of figures – scene ends when the sacrifice is made and the capturing done. Finale
The content of Finale consists of summary of the analysis.
Scene is framed by the end of the game (Botvinnik gives up). Kristaps Pētersons
Sergejs Timofejevs
Viesturs Meikšāns
Reinis Suhanovs
Carlos Franklin
Kirill Burlov Plus sound / color (synesthesia) There will be a pedal of minor second C+H (placed in middle register) present in all opera. Depending on the tension of the dramaturgical situation it will be more distantly or more clearly audible. C tone in western music sometimes is described as a “white” sound. H tone is described as a “black” sound. The combination of these two sounds (minor second) symbolizes tension. 3. STRUCTURE OF THE OPERA 3.1. Vertical Vertical structure of the music can be characterized 2 categories: objective & subjective Objective category is bound to text/situation. Subjective category is bound to emotions. Both categories are displayed in 3 plans: Objective
foreground →text/situation 2nd plan → visualization/interpretation of text/situation Subjective
background → overall movement, attitude towards objective side 3.2. Horizontal Horizontal structure of music – direct link to textual information. Textual information can be arranged in 4 categories: Schematic description of the action Commentary on the action Stories more related to the life
rather than to a game Slogans Chess games are recorded using a special algebraic chess notation. This notation generally records moves in the following order: abbreviation of the piece moved – file where it moved – rank where it moved. For example, Qg5 means queen moves to the g-file and 5th rank.
Singers sing these abbreviations. Sometimes they sing about previous move, sometimes about present move depending on the importance of the move. There will be two kinds of commentaries told by a chess professional (represented on video):
1st overall comment on this particular game.
2nd specific comments on the moves of main importance. Each story is organized in very short form and tells us one particular event. Stories are organized in sets. Each set has its general direction:
power relations between Communist party and players
personal life of players
reporting from the place In the Soviet times there were posters with slogans in every possible place. Singers will sing slogans of Soviet Union from the time this game was played. First USSR Chess World Champion.
A very logic character and strong belief the ideological soviet system.
Family man and scientific researcher.
50 years old by the time of the match. A man of chaos in everyday life and an artist on the chess table.
He was 24 years old when he defied Botvinnik and he became the World Chess Champion after this match. http://www.chessmaniac.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/reshevsky.jpg
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