Alvin Lucier: Theme

Alvin Lucier: Theme

by Alvin Lucier


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Alvin Lucier: Theme

Theme consists of three pieces composed by Alvin Lucier in the mid-'90s. In "Music for Piano With Magnetic Strings," he has pianist Lois Svard place several E-Bows (small electromagnets often used with electric guitars to generate sustained tones) directly onto the strings of a piano. The interaction between strings and magnet would, very gradually, cause the emergence of drone-like tones which Svard could freely alter by moving the E-Bows. The relative proximity of the resultant pitches would result in the sort of pulsing that Lucier had often investigated before. The listener hears a soft matrix of hums and subtle beats; it's quite captivating if one exercises patience and intent concentration. The title track has a poem by John Ashbery recited by four speakers into various resonating objects such as milk bottles, shells, ostrich eggs, etc. The speakers attempt to allow the resonances of their own voices to match those of the objects into which they speak, creating blurred effects somewhat similar to those achieved in Lucier's magnificent "I Am Sitting in a Room." Here, the results are more intriguing than enchanting, but it's an experiment worth hearing. The final work is a piece for gamelan ensemble, but Lucier was reluctant to compose anything that would merely imitate aspects of Southeast Asian music, so his work deals with the controlled feedback obtained by positioning metallic bowls known as bonangs near microphones and having musicians strike them in such a manner as to nearly duplicate the feedback pitches. The necessary differences between these pitches again acts to produce the sort of pulse patterns commonly found in Lucier's music. To the listener, it may be only subtly different than the piano piece that opens the disc but, within that small difference, Lucier locates a wealth of beautiful sounds that makes Theme well worth hearing.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/25/2000
Label: Lovely Music
UPC: 0745295501121
catalogNumber: 5011
Rank: 89995

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