Via O. X. Dive comes the following short feature:
I saw Ligeti’s Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes a little while back at the Steve Reich Evening dance performance at the Edinburgh Festival. Another intriguing offering was used as an opener: a drum speaker is placed face up in the centre of the stage with two microphones suspended as pendula above it. The performers draw the microphones toward the horizontal and, after switching them on, let go. They produce two different frequencies of feedback buzz as they pass over the speaker; starting out in phase they diverge based on slight differences in initial conditions and the work lasts until both microphones have returned to rest.
Both this work and the Poème Symphonique test the patience of the audience a little. One has understood the idea after only a short time, and the rest of the piece is spent exploring the aural variations that emerge, which becomes tiresome once one’s concentration is exhausted. G. R. Mamatsashvili, with whom I attended the Steve Reich Evening, lent across to me at one point during the work and remarked, not really whispering, “Berian, they are trying to hypnotise us.” Indeed.
I look forward, therefore, to our one day attending a performance of Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2.