I Am Sitting In A Room

Commentary and thoughts on (mostly) classical music.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

18 Musicians and Siren

The first Wednesday of every month--at noon--Cincinnati tests its air raid tornado warning sirens. Today's test went off while I was listening to Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians. The siren snuck in right behind the pulsing clarinets* during Section V (the one based on the Violin Phase pattern). If I hadn't been looking at the score and paying attention at the time it probably would've taken me a while to realize the sound was external.

At that thought my sick little brain started free associating. I pictured a group of blissed out '70s kids sitting around the living room listening to the Reich on vinyl while the Cold War escalated sci-fi style. Unaware of the wailing sirens**, they didn't know what hit 'em when they were vaporized a la War of the Worlds ('50s version) or Repo Man (see photo); there were some obligatory wisps of smoke and a little ash settled on the still-spinning turntable.

Thus is my time spent while waiting for classes to start back up.

* Give a
listen to the opening Pulses for an idea of what this sounds like if you're unfamiliar.
** If I were trying to be artful these would be klaxons.

3 Comments:

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous The Other Half, via Oregon said...

You just had to slip "Repo Man" in there, didn't you? Why not include the picture of the glowing green car?

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

Isn't this exactly why Steve put the violin "sirens" in The Desert Music? I seem to recall him saying that a fire truck or something went by as he was writing that part of the piece, and he thought it was perfect.

 
At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Campbell Vertesi said...

Hey dude - so you're resuming musicology studies and you're in cincinnati? At CCM? (if so, me too, but in opera)

I hate those sirens. It took me all year to get used to them last year - and they always seem to come on at the most inappropriate times. In my case, my favorite was in the middle of my opera characterization class, breaking the tension at the critical moment of a scene. It couldn't have been better timed if it had been a cell phone at a concert. -sigh-

Wanna exchange links?

 

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