Alvin Lucier »Music for Cello With One or More Amplified Vases« (1993)

for cello and amplified vases

for cello and amplified vases
for cello and amplified vases

cello: Nathan Watts; sound engineer: Sebastian Schottke

Abstract of the score:

»One or more large vases are placed around the cellist. Microphones are inserted into the mouths of the vases, routed through amplifiers to loudspeakers. During the course of the performance, the player slowly and continuously sweeps up the range of the cello, searching for resonances in the vases that are picked up by the microphones and made audible for listeners.

Starting on Low C, sweep up a 5th, taking 2 or more minutes to do so. As the 5th is reached, move the bow as smoothly as possible to the G-string and continue seeping upward. Proceed similarly with the D- and A-strings. From time to time stop and explore certain resonances by slightly varying the pitch and amplitude of your bowing. Overlappings between the ascending sweep and the fixed tone of the open string will produce audible beating that slows down to zero when perfect unison is reached.

»Music for Cello With One or More Amplified Vases« was first performed by Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick, on February 13, 1992 at Wires Center in Venice, California. It has been recorded by Charles Curtis on Antiopic (Sigma Editions) and performed by Mr. Curtis numerous times in the United States and Europe.«

– Alvin Lucier

Video documentary:

ZKM | Videostudio

Camera: Christina Zartmann, Xenia Leidig
Live editing: Andy Koch