Lucerne Festival: Fasnacht Adventure

Check out Tod Machover’s post on the official Symphony for Lucerne blog about his recent Fasnacht adventure, during the annual carnival festival that overtakes the usually calm Swiss city. Here’s an excerpt. Read the entire breathtaking story here.

I had been prepared for the spectacle and the wild masks, but was totally blown away by the diversity of costumes for each group, the individual care that had been taken to create the theme and then the identity for each group and float, and by the fierceness of the musical performances, pounding bass drum and blaring brass, punctuated by many overlapping loudspeaker systems playing wild music both very familiar and extremely strange. The force of the music, the loud chatter of the crowd, the squeals of children, and the sustained energy for almost three hours, contributed a powerful, edgy sound which I had never heard before in Lucerne, and was quite unique in any case…

My favorite thing to do during Fasnacht was to keep walking, zigzagging through tiny streets, along the river, by the lakeside, over the bridges, up the hills to the city walls, and back down again to the Reuss. By doing this, I could make my own mix (and record it on my binaural digital audio recorder) of the contrasting rhythms from different Guggenmusik bands, dive into the middle of chaos where multiple rhythms and chords could be heard at once, or climb to a high promontory where the blend of the – literally – hundreds of different sound sources became somewhat gentle and dreamlike, reminding me of something that my compatriot Charles Ives might have imagined….

Here is “Fasnacht Fantasy” on the Sinfonie für Luzerne’s Soundcloud:

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