Saturday, April 06, 2013

Music meets Technology at the American Composers Orchestra

The American Composers Orchestra concert on Friday evening at Carnegie's Zankel auditorium, under the direction of George Manahan, explored the possibilities of music and technology under the banner of "Playing it UNsafe."  Composer Raymond J. Lustig's "Latency Canons" does just that. It is a transatlantic twelve minute orchestra work that balances the musicians in New York with the Gildas Quartet playing, in "real" time from Manchester, England, and over the Internet.  The unreliable aspect of cyberspace, together with the delay that oftentimes happens in our current computer communication is the backbone of this work.  In Richard Wagner's Parsifal when the character Gurnemanz mysteriously states that in the realm of the Grail "time becomes space" he could very well be talking about Mr. Lustig's canons.  His mostly tonal piece culminates in a dizzying fugue punctuated by massive chords on the brass section.  That the Internet has become more reliable and less twitchy than when perhaps the idea first occurred to Mr. Lustig is not the point.  The very fact that the composer embraces unreliability in performance as the piece's raison d'être continues to make the essence of "Latency Canons" wonderfully experimental.

For more information about Raymond Lustig and his music, visit his website:

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