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Topic: Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

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  1. #1

    Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

    Edgar Varese was the first to introduce the siren as a musical instrument in his 1933 work "Ionisation" A critic at the time described the work as "a sock in the jaw!" And it still sounds quite avant-garde even today. This virtual performance uses VSL's VI percussion.

    http://www.vsl.co.at/Player2.aspx?Lang=13&DemoId=4917

    Best,
    Jay

  2. #2

    Re: Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

    I was wondering when someone would get around to doing this.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  3. #3

    Re: Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

    That's fantastic. Excellent work as ever Jay.

    What reverb were you using?

    Nick

  4. #4

    Re: Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

    Great demo - but the siren had already been used in Ballet Mecanique in 1926. At the premiere the person using the siren apparently didn't realise that it didn't sound until you stopped winding the handle. So he kept frantically winding and winding, hoping it would eventually start up. Finally, when the piece was over he gave up, and the siren, now primed to a ridiculous level, let loose, and apparently cleared the concert hall.

  5. #5
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    Re: Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

    haha... good anecdote... and no wonder they haven't brought back the sirens for quite awhile.

  6. #6

    Re: Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu
    Great demo - but the siren had already been used in Ballet Mecanique in 1926. At the premiere the person using the siren apparently didn't realise that it didn't sound until you stopped winding the handle. So he kept frantically winding and winding, hoping it would eventually start up. Finally, when the piece was over he gave up, and the siren, now primed to a ridiculous level, let loose, and apparently cleared the concert hall.
    LOL!!! Thats great!!! Laughing so hard it made me cry!! LOL!!

  7. #7

    Re: Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu
    Great demo - but the siren had already been used in Ballet Mecanique in 1926. At the premiere the person using the siren apparently didn't realise that it didn't sound until you stopped winding the handle. So he kept frantically winding and winding, hoping it would eventually start up. Finally, when the piece was over he gave up, and the siren, now primed to a ridiculous level, let loose, and apparently cleared the concert hall.
    Nice story, but technically it doesn't make sense at all. A sirene produces sound as soon as you move the wheel. There's no way to mute the sound.

  8. #8

    Re: Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

    Quote Originally Posted by mathis
    Nice story, but technically it doesn't make sense at all. A sirene produces sound as soon as you move the wheel. There's no way to mute the sound.
    I'm sorry, I haven't a clue how a siren works, but I heard the story on a BBC Radio 3 documentary about Antheil - I just assumed it was genuine.

  9. #9

    Re: Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

    OK, just because I thought I might be losing my marbles I tired to check the story out, and found this version as part of an interview with Paul Lehrmann, who did the recent world premiere of ANtheil's original orchestration.

    "Then at the end there is this big climactic siren wail, and they had not had a chance to rehearse with a siren. They got the siren the morning of the concert and the guy playing the siren didn't know what he was supposed to do with it. He figured you just crank the thing and it starts to make noise. So, the conductor gives him the cue, he starts cranking and nothing comes out. Well, it was a New York City fire siren, and a New York City fire siren takes about a minute to warm up. Worse than that, once it warms up, you can't stop it. It stops by itself, and that takes another minute for it to wind down. So this guy is cranking and cranking and cranking, nothing comes out. The piece finishes, the guy lets go and gives up, and all of a sudden the siren starts to sound. So the last sound you hear as the audience is packing up and leaving and booing and laughing, and the orchestra is getting up and leaving is this siren wailing away on stage all by itself."

    The site is here:-

    http://musicmavericks.publicradio.or...w_lehrman.html

  10. #10

    Re: Varese's Ionisation -- VSL percussion demo

    I guess I'm slowly getting a clue how this New York fire sirene mechanically is working.

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