June 04, 2007

Favourite Intermissions

Intermission.jpgFor the past seven year, Christopher DeLaurenti has been turning up to classical concerts in a leather vest with concealed microphones attached to a minidisc recorder. The goal of this clandestine bootlegging setup has not been to record any music that was on the programme, but rather to capture what happened during intermission. While other concert-goers were off sipping bubbly and relieving their bladders, he was there in the front row documenting the sound of milling patrons and orchestra members rehearsing their parts. In the process, he discovered an entirely "new", and previously undocumented, form of “improvised” music.

Musicians left on stage during intermission would generally use the time to practice difficult passages from the pieces to come. For the most part, they would twiddle away obliviously but occasionally they would latch on to what was being played in another section of the orchestra. This might continue for a few bars then fall apart and be replaced by cacophony followed by another spontaneous coming together around a new passage – kind of like a random sheet-music based version of one of John Zorn’s improvisational music games.

DeLaurenti’s obsessive documentation of these moments of interstitial orchestral "improvisation" has resulted in 50 hours worth of recordings which he has condensed into a single CD of “greatest hits” entitled Favourite Intermissions. The CD can be purchased from his website. Here’s a track from it called SF Variations (I think that’s short for Stravinsky’s Firebird… But I could be wrong about that. Any ideas?)

Posted by Warren at June 4, 2007 05:15 PM | Classical | Experimental | Field Recordings