Annea Lockwood: Breaking The Surface


Breaking the Surface

Duende (1997) Thomas Buckner and Annea Lockwood

Duende was commissioned by Thomas Buckner, with whom I have collaborated for several years, composing two other works for him, Night and Fog and The Angle of Repose. This is the most collaborative of the three works, and draws on the remarkable and expressive array of sounds which he has evolved over years of improvisational work, a form of personal vocabulary. From this vocabulary I selected sounds which remind me of certain vocal transformations I have heard in recordings of shamanic ceremonies. In such singing, changes in the voice mirror and also help to bring about changes in the singer’s mind and awareness.

Within an improvisational framework, Thomas Buckner explores the possibility of change of state through such transformations, moving through three stages: preparation, a first flight, and a final flight in which he moves beyond the self he knows. Thus Duende is a not a prepared, performed work, but a vehicle for experience. He is partnered by a tape drawn from the sounds of the cuica (an African and South American instrument), a large glass gong and other glass sounds, wind, a Cameroonian rattle, a kea (New Zealand mountain parrot), and a bullroarer; our thanks to Tom Hamilton for his assistance in making the tape.

Federico Garcia Lorca, for whom duende was a fundamental, essential quality, said “The duende, then, is a power, not a work. It is a struggle, not a thought. I have heard an old maestro of the guitar say, ‘The duende is not in the throat; the duende climbs up inside you, from the soles of the feet.’ Meaning this: it is not a question of ability, but of true, living style, of blood, of the most ancient culture, of spontaneous creation.” And, “We have said that the duende loves the rim of the wound, and that he draws near places where forms fuse together into a yearning superior to their visible expression.”*

— Annea Lockwood

Duende began as an idea of Annea Lockwood to make a piece using my vocabulary of improvised vocal sounds. Many of these reminded her of the vocal transformations shamans experience in trance, which I had never heard. We recorded the sounds and she put them in an order to evoke the cycles of a shamanic journey and made a tape to provide a world for me to sing in. Then, the magic began to happen. Each run-through of the piece, practice or performance, has been a transforming experience for me. The voice sounds performed here are no longer those we recorded, but continuously evolve. Thus the music has become a true collaboration. I still haven’t listened to the shamans sing, but I feel a kinship with them through the experience of this piece. I am grateful to Annea for inviting me to co-create this piece, and for her vision of a spiritual journey.

— Thomas Buckner

* From “Play and Theory of Duende”, by Federico Garcia Lorca: Copyright © 1975 by The Estate of Federico Garcia Lorca and Christopher Maurer. Printed by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Delta Run (1979-81) Annea Lockwood

Delta Run is an expression of the thoughts and experiences of Walter Wincha, a sculptor, who talked with me just over a day before he died in 1979, aged thirty. He knew that he was dying and, with great generosity, wanted to communicate his perceptions of death as something “only natural, you know - now is my time”, seeing this piece as a form of continuing creativity now that sculpture was out of reach. Interwoven with his voice are wind, water, ambient sounds from the hospice where we talked, and some of the ordinary sounds of daily living, embodying my sense that dying is a part of living, not separate from it, and that in dying we are incorporated back into the elements from which we emanate.

Delta Run originated as a performance work, during which over a 25-minute period, the performer slowly raises the two halves of a large hoop, bringing them together just as Walter ceases to speak. The circle they form is then filled with brilliant blue light as the performance ends. I completed the work in 1981 with the assistance of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is dedicated to my mother, Gladys Ferguson Lockwood.

— Annea Lockwood


Born in New Zealand, Annea Lockwood has been living in the USA since 1973. First known for her explorations of glass and of environmental sounds in performance works and installations, she turned to instrumental and vocal writing in the mid-80s, stimulated by the opportunity of working on Night and Fog, composed for Thomas Buckner. This work, together with The Angle of Repose, has been recorded by Mr. Buckner on Lovely Music, which also released Lockwood’s A Sound Map of the Hudson River. Other works have been released on CRI, XI, Harmonia Mundi. Atlantic/Finnadar, OO Discs and Rattle Records.

Over the past thirty years, Thomas Buckner has achieved notable success as an innovative performer, as well as producer and promoter, of some of the most adventurous music of the 20th century. Through his live and recorded work with both established and emerging contemporary composers and improvisers, Buckner continues to be a pioneer in a wide range of musical contexts, mixing genres and breaking barriers in his on-going pursuit of the yet-to-be-imagined. Buckner has performed his own concerts, and in association with a wide variety of ensembles, throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. In 1996, he was awarded the American Music Center’s Letter of Distinction, in recognition of his contributions to the field of contemporary music. He has released three solo compact discs on Lovely Music.

Duende was recorded and mixed by Joe Marciano and Tom Hamilton at Systems 2, Brooklyn, NY.
Delta Run was recorded by Annea Lockwood.

The compact disc was assembled by Marilyn Ries.

Production of this CD has been partially funded by a grants from the Dale Fund at Vassar College and the Phaedrus Foundation.

Art Direction and Design: By Design

Copyright © 1981 & 1997 by Annea Lockwood (BMI)
© P 1999 Lovely Music, Ltd.

LCD 2082 [A] [D] [D]