Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ballet Mécanique

I found the National Gallery's installation of George Antheil's Ballet Mécanique on YouTube! It doesn't quite match the visceral thrill of being there, but you get a little of the idea.

The ensemble included 16 grand player pianos, three xylophones, four bass drums, a tam-tam, a siren, several alarm bells, and three electric fans standing in for airplane propellers, all controlled by MIDI. Interesting to think that the technology to perform this piece in its original form didn't exist until roughly sixty years after it was composed.

According to Wikipedia, in early performances Antheil aimed the propellers to blow into the audience. Based on published critiques, this went over pretty well in Paris, but less well at Carnegie Hall. Still, what a guy.

Here's an excerpt from the film the music was composed for.

I also found Duchamp's "Anemic Cinema," as well as a time-lapse film of the first three months of Cheddarvision, the site which harnesses the awesome power of modern information technology to let you watch a cheddar cheese aging in real time. You know, when all is said and done, this really is the very best time in history to be alive.

1 comment:

An Briosca Mor said...

Well, as others have said before me - although maybe not about this, but then again maybe they have; who knows? - TCMTC. But since I don't know how to embed photos into Blogger comments, I have been forced to extend my remarks elsewhere: