FANTASTIQUE: One Minute Note

Louisville native KiMani Bridges is a flutist and composer, currently studying composition at Indiana University. Her latest work, STATiC, was commissioned by the Louisville Orchestra. Bridges has written: “STATiC is an orchestral work that moves between being still and having constant movement. This effect piece uses many extended techniques and colors, building a collection of textures that can be described as mysterious, anxious, stressful, uneasy, light, and calm. With STATiC, we are exploring the capabilities of the orchestra and what sounds can be created with the instruments ad the performers themselves. Exploring the use of the voice and air, the expressiveness in pitch (pitch bends, timbral trills, glissandi), the use of the various harmonic series, and cluster chords. As a characteristic, this piece uses graphic notation to create an uneasy and unpredictable sound: a wave of feelings.” Expect the unexpected and you will not be disappointed.

Adam Schoenberg’s Automation is a unique hybrid: a concerto featuring not only cello, but also pre-recorded cello, halldorophone [a feedback instrument that sort of looks like a cello], electronics, and visual projections. He describes it as a ‘Cinematic Concerto’ that explores the conflicts and connections between man and machine.  The soloist and his holographic artificial intelligence [AI] counterpart interact on stage with the orchestra. Automation asks probing questions. Can a technically superior yet emotionless machine create music that moves us?  How will humans react when faced with the possibility of being replaced? A vision of a haunting future imagined in an adapted soloist + orchestra format, Automation promises to be a visceral experience that will leave you talking about what it truly means to be human.

Macabre sounds play a significant role in the music of Hector Berlioz, who was a master of orchestral special effects. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his most celebrated work, the Symphonie fantastique. Nearly two centuries after its first performance, this splendid symphony still sounds fresh, even slightly dangerous. And so it is, for Berlioz’s subject was the obsessive love of a young artist driven to opiates by his passion for a woman. His obsession takes musical form in a recurrent theme, the idée fixe [fixed idea], that returns throughout the symphony, gradually transformed and distorted. The second movement waltz is one of the great ballroom scenes in symphonic literature. The concluding March to the Scaffold is a field day for the brasses. With its sonic kaleidoscope, the Symphonie fantastique remains a popular favorite.