Alvin Lucier

Panorama

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These four elegant compositions, two acoustic and two electro-acoustic, are exquisite realizations of the composer's fascination with the subtle phenomenon of beat patterns moving through acoustic space. "Wind Shadows" (1994) is a meditative composition for trombone and electronic pure wave oscillators based in which very small tuning changes cause beat patterns to shift slowly within a small area. Two oscillators steadily produce tones only a tenth of a cycle apart, while the trombonist plays long tones only three cycles above and below exact unison with the oscillators. In "Music for Piano with One or More Snare Drums" (1990), the pianist proceeds along a series of given pitches, repeating them in overlapping patterns, as the snare drums very quietly resonate to those tones. For "Music for Piano with Amplified Sonorous Vessels" (1990), several kinds of small vessels such as wine glasses, clay pots, bamboo cups etc. are placed inside or near a grand piano, but not on the strings. Microphones inside the vessels amplify the beautiful and mysterious interior resonances and their beat patterns for the audience. The effect is as if the audience were themselves listening inside different resonant environments, perhaps with different ears. "Panorama" (1993) was created by transcribing outlines of Alpine mountain ranges into pitches for trombone and piano with the pianist playing the "peaks" and the trombone sliding in micro-intervals to musically describe the form of the mountains. The differences in tuning between the two instruments produces varied beat patterns.

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