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Daphne Oram & Vera Gray's "Listen Move & Dance" series of BBC programs were devised as a radical new technique to help British schoolchildren learn how to dance, Gray's sections arranging short adaptations of classical pieces by Bartok, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, contrasted with Oram's electronic section, adding a sci-fi/Dr. Who element for the more imaginative children...
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Hand-numbered edition of 500 copies.
Label: Fantome Phonographique
Catalog ID: OME 1023LP
Squidco Product Code: 27938
Originally released in 1962, Remastered edition.
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• Show Bio for Daphne Oram
"Daphne Oram (31 December 1925 - 5 January 2003) was a British composer and electronic musician. She was one of the first British composers to produce electronic sound, and was a pioneer of musique concrète in the UK. As a co-founder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, she became a central figure in the evolution of electronic music.
She was the creator of the Oramics technique for creating electronic sounds using drawn sound. Besides being a musical innovator, she was the first woman to independently direct and set up a personal electronic music studio, and the first woman to design and construct an electronic musical instrument.
Oram was born to James and Ida Oram on 31 December 1925 in Wiltshire, England. Educated at Sherborne School For Girls, she was, from an early age, taught piano and organ as well as musical composition. Her father was the President of the Wiltshire Archeological Society in the 1950s. Her childhood home was within 10 miles of the stone circles of Avebury and 20 miles from Stonehenge.
Work at the BBC
In 1942, Oram was offered a place at the Royal College of Music but instead took up a position as a Junior Studio Engineer and "music balancer" at the BBC. One of her job responsibilities was "shadowing" live concerts with a pre-recorded version so the broadcast would go on if interrupted by "enemy action. Other job duties included creating sound effects for radio shows and mixing broadcast levels. During this period she became aware of developments in synthetic sound and began experimenting with tape recorders. Often staying after hours, she was known to experiment with tape recorders late into the night. She recorded sounds on to tape, and then cut, spliced and looped, slowed them down, sped up, and played them backwards.
She also dedicated time in the 1940s composing music, including an orchestral work entitled Still Point. This was an innovative piece for turntables, "double orchestra" and five microphones. Many consider Still Point the first composition that combined acoustic orchestration with live electronic manipulation. Rejected by the BBC and never performed, Still Point remained unheard for 70 years, until on 24 June 2016 the London Contemporary Orchestra performed it for the first time. The world premiere of a revised version of Still Point was performed at The Proms in London on 23 July 2018 by the London Contemporary Orchestra.
In the 1950s, she was promoted to become a music studio manager. Following a trip to the RTF studios in Paris, she began to campaign for the BBC to provide electronic music facilities for composing sounds and music, using electronic music and musique concrète techniques, for use in its programming. In 1957 she was commissioned to compose music for the play Amphitryon 38. She created this piece using a sine wave oscillator, a tape recorder and some self-designed filters, thereby producing the first wholly electronic score in BBC history. Along with fellow electronic musician and BBC colleague Desmond Briscoe, she began to receive commissions for many other works, including a significant production of Samuel Beckett's All That Fall (1957). As demand grew for these electronic sounds, the BBC gave Oram and Briscoe a budget to establish the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in early 1958, where she was the first Studio Manager. The workshop was focused on creating sound effects and theme music for all of the corporation's output, including the science fiction serial Quatermass and the Pit (1958-59) and "Major Bloodnok's Stomach" for the radio comedy series The Goon Show.
In October 1958, Oram was sent by the BBC to the "Journées Internationales de Musique Expérimentale" at the Brussels World's Fair (where Edgard Varèse demonstrated his Poème électronique). After hearing some of the work produced by her contemporaries and being unhappy at the BBC music department's continued refusal to push electronic composition into the foreground of their activities, she decided to resign from the BBC less than one year after the workshop had opened, hoping to develop her techniques further on her own.
In 1965, Oram produced Pulse Persephone for the Treasures of the Commonwealth exhibition at the Royal Academy of the Arts.Film
Oram provided the prominent electronic sounds for the soundtrack of Doctor No (1962), uncredited. These sounds were used by the James Bond films up until Goldfinger (1964). Oram also added sounds to the soundtrack of Snow (1963), a short documentary by Geffrey Jones. After the success of Snow, she worked with Jones again and is credited for the Electronic Treatment (of music) of Rail (1967).Oramics
Immediately after leaving the BBC in 1959, Oram began setting up her Oramics Studios for Electronic Composition in Tower Folly, a converted oast house at Fairseat, near Wrotham, Kent.
Oramics is a drawn sound technique that involves drawing directly onto 35mm film stock. Shapes and designs etched into the film strips are read by photo-electric cells and transformed into sounds. According to Oram, "Every nuance, every subtlety of phrasing, every tone gradation or pitch inflection must be possible just by a change in the written form." The Oramics technique and the flexibility of control over the nuances of sound was an altogether new and innovative approach to music production. Financial pressures meant it was necessary to maintain her work as a commercial composer, and her work on the Oramics system covered a wider range than the Radiophonic Workshop. She produced music for not only radio and television but also theatre, short commercial films, sound installations and exhibitions. Other work from this studio included electronic sounds for Jack Clayton's horror film The Innocents (1961), concert works including Four Aspects (1960), and collaborations with opera composer Thea Musgrave and Ivor Walsworth.Oramics machine displayed at the Science Museum, London (2011)
In February 1962, she was awarded a grant of £3,550 (equivalent to £74,000 in 2018) from the Gulbenkian Foundation to support the development of the Oramics system. A second Gulbenkian grant of £1,000 was awarded in 1965. The first entirely drawn-sound composition using the machine, entitled "Contrasts Essonic", was recorded in 1963. As the Oramics research evolved, Oram's focus turned to the subtle nuances and interactions between sonic parameters. In this phase of Oramics, she applied her sound research to the non-linear behavior of the human ear and to perception of the brain's apprehension of the world. She used Oramics to study vibrational phenomena, divided into "commercial Oramics" and "mystical Oramics." In her notes, Oram defined Oramics as "the study of sound and its relationship to life."
In the 1980s Oram worked on the development of a software version of Oramics for the Acorn Archimedes computer using grant money received from the RVW (Ralph Vaughan Williams) Trust. She wished to continue her "Mystical Oramics" research, but a lack of funding prevented this project from being fully realized. [...]"-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daphne_Oram)
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descriptions, reviews, &c.
"A reissue of Daphne Oram and Vera Gray's Listen Move & Dance, originally released in 1962. The British composer, musician, and audio engineer Daphne Oram was a pioneering figure in the use of electronic music. Coming to prominence through her work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which she co-founded, Oram was one of the first British composers to feature electronic instruments in her work and has been rightly hailed as helping musique concrete to become accepted in Britain.
Oram's composition "Still Point", involving two orchestras, two turntables and five microphones, was deemed too radical by the BBC, though she was promoted to studio manager in 1950, leading to the gradual introduction of electronic music and musique concrete techniques on BBC soundtracks. In 1957, she composed the music for the play Amphitryon 38, using a sine wave oscillator and homemade filters, and this and other subsequent works led to the establishment of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop the following year, but Oram soon tired of the conservative constraints of the BBC, leading to her resignation in 1959 to pursue her own vision at the Oramics Studios for Electronic Composition, located in Tower Folly, a former hop kiln located at Fairseat, near the village of Wrotham in rural Kent.
"Oramics" was a radical sound composition technique that sought to transform images to music, enacted by drawing onto 35mm film, which would then be read by photo-electric cells; in addition to its use in Radiophonic Workshop material, "Oramics" was also employed for sound installations, theater productions, and feature films, such as The Innocents, though financial pressures forced Oram to seek a range of commercial engagements in addition to creating her own artistic works.
The Listen Move & Dance series of BBC programs were devised as a radical new technique to help British schoolchildren learn how to dance; on the LP releases, Vera Gray arranged short adaptations of classical pieces by Bartok, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and others, designed for "stamping, punching, kicking and jumping" movements, as well as "running lightly", "dancing on toes" and "shaking all about", which contrasted sharply with Oram's electronic abstractions, which seemed to have been beamed in from outer space."-Fantôme Phonographique
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