Upcoming immersive concert in London: ‘Objects At An Exhibition’ by Aurora Orchestra @ The Science Museum (and your opportunity to volunteer)

8 Aug

Charles Babbage's Difference Engine (© Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine (© Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Right – if you’re reading this at the time when I posted it, you’ve got exactly
two days within which to volunteer as a performance guide for ‘Objects At An Exhibition’. This is the latest in a series of immersive walk-through musical concert stagings by the Aurora Orchestra –  this time, spread across the galleries of the Science Museum in London.

Aurora notes that each participant (there’ll need to be 50, aged 16 or upwards) “will have a specific role in helping to animate the audience’s experience, navigating people between locations through prepared routes, or mobilising with others for interventions during the show… No performance skills or experience of any kind are necessary – just the time to be able to commit to rehearsals and the performance… Volunteers should be prepared potentially to be mobile throughout (four hours).” Rehearsals start in late September, preparing for the early October concert. For full details, click here and (if you’re interested) register by email before the end of Monday 10th August.

As for the performance itself…

'Objects At An Exhibition', Science Museum, 3rd October 2015

 The Aurora Orchestra: ‘Objects At An Exhibition’ (The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD, UK, Saturday 3rd October 2015, 7.45pm (£25, discounts available) 

Prosthetic arm for pianist (© Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Prosthetic arm for pianist (© Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

The concert features six brand new contemporary classical pieces inspired by objects and galleries in the Museum, which also commissioned the pieces in collaboration with NMC Recordings as part of the latter’s 25th anniversary. Re-imagining the concept behind Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures At An Exhibition’ for the twenty-first century, each piece will be performed by the Aurora Orchestra in the presence of the object or space which inspired its composition. The orchestra will be conducted by Nicholas Collon and the whole event’s conceptual staging is directed by Tim Hopkins.

Programme:

Gerald Barry – The One-Armed Pianist (presented in the Making the Modern World Gallery and inspired by an octave-stretching prosthetic arm made in the Edwardian era for an amputee musician who went on to use it for a performance in the Albert Hall. Gerald: “The piece is in two halves. The first is philosophical acceptance, the second is the octave played by the wooden arm.”)

Barry Guy – Mr Babbage is Coming to Dinner (presented in the Making the Modern World Gallery, and consisting of a graphic score inspired by engineering drawings for Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine.)

2L0 transmitter (© Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

2LO transmitter (© Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Christopher Mayo – Supermarine (presented in the Flight Gallery, inspired by its slate statue of Spitfire designer R.J. Mitchell and by Christopher’s own interest in mathematics and engineering, aiming to “allow the audience to make some of the same connections that I have made on the journey from idea to inspiration to composition to performance.”)

Claudia Molitor – 2TwoLO (presented in the Information Age Gallery, and inspired by the mechanism of the BBC’s first radio transmitter 2LO and by the politics behind its use. Claudia: “I stumbled across the information that initially the transmission of music was prohibited by the licenser, only speech was deemed acceptable. TwoLO imagines how one might pull the wool over the licenser’s ears by creating a piece to be broadcast under these conditions that one could successfully argue is ‘not music’.”)

Machinery in the Energy Hall (© Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Machinery in the Energy Hall (© Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Thea Musgrave – Power Play (presented in and inspired by the Energy Hall Gallery, taking advantage of its various levels to split the ensemble, Thea’s work illustrating “the wonders of discovery, with soloists ‘taking off’ with flights of fancy against the more earth-bound group below.”)

David Sawer – Coachman Chrono (presented in the Making the Modern World gallery, and inspired both by the London-York mail coach and by Thomas De Quincey’s related essay on its driver’s focus on balancing velocity and accuracy. David: “My imaginary musical journey from A to B aims to reflect the fact that in a world which increasingly emphasises speed, clarity can perhaps be best achieved when time stands still.”)

The Aurora Orchestra: 'Objects At An Exhibition'

The Aurora Orchestra: ‘Objects At An Exhibition’

For full details on the performance, click here, while tickets are directly available from the Science Museum here. More background information is at this Science Museum blog entry by the museum’s Tim Boon.

The ‘Objects At An Exhibition’ album (featuring the world premiere recordings of all six pieces) will be released on NMC Recordings on 18th September 2015, two weeks before the concert. It’s available for pre-order now.

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