by Sean Williams

The Fourth Estate


One of the highlights of my year in Dublin was playing second fiddle (more accurately, first and second AM radio) to the brilliant Gabriella Smart during her performance of Cat Hope’s “The Fourth Estate” at the Australian Ambassador’s residence in Dublin on December the 10th.

“The Fourth Estate” is a work for piano, EBows and transistor radios. It “compares the sonoric qualities of the piano with those of small electronic devices that extend and contrast with it.” The title refers to the press, and the work explores the concept that “[s]mall voices … have the ability to change everything. As the Fourth Estate is thought to be an element of society ‘outside’ official recognition, here the electronics attempt to pull the piano into a different sound world outside its usual realm.” The score is graphical, and iteratively generated, so every performance is unique. (Quotes and image taken from the site above.)

It was fascinating to be part of, and a true honour. I can now add transistor radio to the list of instruments I can’t play very well (along with guitar, piano, recorder, and clarinet).

4th estate.png

“The Fourth Estate”

Sample screen of the score.

A sneak peek at our performance.

seanwilliamsperformance, music