Shape Study: Music for Metamorphoses


Instrumentation: Fixed Media
Duration: 6 minutes
Recording Available: Yes
Performed: Yes

Shape Study: Music for Metamorphoses for fixed media was written at the end of 2008 for the Lewis University Theater Department production of Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses. An adaptation of Ovid's eponymous narrative poem, this production of Zimmeraman's play was directed by Dr. Kevin Trudeau. Although the composition is, on one hand, intended to serve as a prelude to the production of this play, it is also hoped that the work stands by itself as an independent electroacoustic composition.

Structurally, this composition reduces the distances between traditional foreground, middleground, and background musical layers, thus clouding these dimensions. Yet at the same time, this work strives to present a clear and logical dramatic shape by assembling spectral, dynamic, and spatial elements.

"Mike McFerron's Shape Study: Music for "Metamorphoses" was part composition, part sound design and full parts amazing. Recalling the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's production of the Mary Zimmerman's 2002 Drama Desk-multiple-award winner, only made the piece that much more effective. Form and spatialization seemed to be paramount to the work. Opening with a clap of thunder that eased into a gentle downpour accompanied by bongos and ululating voices, the piece morphed into particulate granulizations. The climax echoed back to the opening thunder clap in that it was a monstrous sound mass, rendered even more effective because McFerron eliminated an entire spectrum of frequencies before reintroducing them through a quick fade-in—the electroacoustic version of a deceptive cadence. Ending with a deliberately paced diminuendo, the piece faded out through one of the speakers in the rear of the hall—the storm had passed, metamorphosed itself and the listener, leaving a wake of sonic bliss and awe."

Lee Hartman (October 2011)