Music: Pedro Alcalde
Simultaneous electronic music: Vaihtovirta
Authors: Pan Sonic (Ilpo Vaisanen / Mika Vaino)
Orchestra: Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (OBC)
Conductor: Ernest Martínez Izquierdo
Visualizations: Videogeist

Event: Sónar Festival – Opening concert
Venue: L’Auditori Barcelona
Date: 17th June 2004

For the opening of the Sonar Festival 2004, Enric Palau came up with an idea for a collaboration between a symphonic orchestra (the OBC), certain musicians playing at the Festival: Ryuichi Sakamoto, Pan Sonic and Fennesz, and visual artists Videogeist, Lia and Jon Wozencroft. The idea was for some pieces from the classical music repertoire (Bach, Dvorak, Prokofiev, etc.) to be intervened using electronic media. The performance rights were denied for one of the six classical pieces chosen. In view of this, another approach was chosen: an orchestral score would be specially created for the occasion to intervene in one of the “electronic” themes. The electronic piece was Vaihtovirta (which in Finnish means “alternating current”) by Pan Sonic and the orchestral score for the intervention was written by me.

FM for Funeral Music. The piece would be more accurately a “marcia funebre”. From the musical tradition of this form, I was interested primarily in its slow rhythm, procession-like, in sharp contrast to the fast pulse of electronic music, with which it had to converge. A thematic element on a minor second, links with the motive of mourning in the baroque “Theory of the Affects” and from there acts on the character traditionally associated with funeral music.

The role reversion, in which the orchestra was to freely intervene on an existing piece of electronic music, almost intrinsically involved speaking from common ground with the part labeled “classic”. Simultaneously, I was obsessed at the time with the idea of feeling that what was left of classical music nowadays was something like a collection of scraps, like breadcrumbs after a great feast. In the score, those crumbs became different cells as a tribute to composers who were currently part of my personal listening: Mahler, Bruckner, Bartok, Webern, Ligeti, and Kurtág. The central motif of “the pool of tears” scene in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle was of use to determine the main pulse in the deliberate evolution of a procession wilfully slowed down.

Orchestra: 4-4-4-4 / 8-4-4-1 / timpani, percussion (8), celesta, harp (2), piano / strings