Classical KUSC Blog

February 23, 2010

The Ensemble Has Spoke-n

Filed under: Brian Lauritzen — classicalkusc @ 3:57 pm

I was super excited to be a part of a bicycle ensemble yesterday evening. It was part of the Monday Evening Concerts’ performance of Eine Brise: Transient Action for 111 Bicyclists. This music/conceptual art piece, by composer Mauricio Kagel, is entirely written out on sheet music. A performance lasts about 60-90 seconds.

So, around 5:00 yesterday afternoon, I loaded up my borrowed bike into my NOT bike friendly car and headed off to rehearsal.


Everyone gathered on lower Grand Ave (at the unpronounceable cross street Kosciuszko Way) in Downtown LA to practice the sounds Kagel’s score indicates. First, the bike bells: one forte ring, followed by a fortissimo tremolo, followed by a triple-forte tremelo. This was to be performed as we first caught sight of the audience.

Then, whistling: three different pitches, each one higher and louder than the last.

Singing was next.  Like the whistling it was three pitches, each one higher and louder than the last…on the vowels Ah, Eee, and Oh.

The whistling and singing was to be combined in the performance.  At a predetermined landmark (in this case, the colorful MOCA sign), we would switch from bike bells to whistling/singing.

As soon as we started to pass the audience, the score instructed us to alternate between a whooshing sound (crescendo from piano to fortissimo, decrescendo back to piano) and flutter tongue (fortissimo at two pitches: the second higher than the first).

Put it all together and the performance goes something like this.  (Okay, it was super dark and the camera I stealthily attached to my handlebars isn’t so hot, but you get the idea.)

It was a little lighter at rehearsal.

~ Brian Lauritzen

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