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:


Plunging into “Fensadense”

From Tod Machover’s Facebook page:

Straight off the plane yesterday from Dubai into an intensive rehearsal at the LUCERNE FESTIVAL for our new FENSADENSE project. What a pleasure to explore the relationships of improvisation-to-composition and acoustics-to-electronics with 10 amazing young musicians from around the world. Bach is already being transmuted into something new and surprising, and we’ll be working on a variety of other alchemical processes today and testing a new generation of Hyperinstruments. Definitely exciting enough to ward off jet lag::)) — at Südpol Luzern.

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I hear Lucerne – Episode 3

Tod’s third post on the I Hear Lucerne blog is up! He brings you inside his journey to explore the Swiss city of Lucerne. From his visit, several themes begin to emerge. Tod also describes an extraordinary workshop involving the people of Lucerne and three very different artists:

That same afternoon, we presented a workshop at the KKL to demonstrate howEine Sinfornie fûr Luzern is developing. I reminded the audience of the basic premise for the project, demonstrated the new Höre Luzern / Hear Lucernemobile app that makes it easy to record and share sounds from the city, and played some of my favorite sounds – from cows to yodels to ship horns to fountains – that have been contributed so far. Then we tried an experiment, to see if we could “translate” real sounds from the city into “music.” Since the Piano Festival was in session, I asked that we find three open-minded and creative pianists from different musical backgrounds to participate. We were extremely fortunate to be able to work with Anita Schaufelberger, Michael Mahnig, and Leo Tardin. They couldn’t have been more wonderful to work with. For each of them, I played one of three “sound dreamscapes” I had prepared based on a certain type of sonic material from Lucerne: Water, Bells and Voices respectively. After we – myself, the pianists and the assembled audience – listened to each of the ca. 1-minute collages, I asked one of the pianists to reinterpret the recorded sounds and to create the same sound and feel on the acoustic piano.

You can read the full blog post and watch workshop video footage here.


Brazilian TV spot on Lucerne Symphony project

This clip just appeared on Brazilian TV (Cultura TV, São Paulo) about Tod Machover’s LUCERNE SYMPHONY project. They interviewed Tod a few weeks ago when he was at the LUCERNE FESTIVAL, and this has some nice footage and sound of what the team did (and are doing) over there. So check it out and practice your Portugese!!!