Tod Machover, Tristan Jehan, and Mike Fabio.

Tod Machover's Sparkler is a rapid, delicate tour-de-force that presents one musical vision of the future when acoustic orchestras and interactive electronics might be seamlessly combined. It explores many different relationships between orchestra and technology, sometimes contrasting the two worlds, sometimes complementing one with the other, yet at other times blending the two into a new whole. Three keyboards play and modulate much of the electronics. Unlike many previous works where only solo instruments are amplified or electronically processed, in this piece microphones capture the entire orchestral sound, which is analyzed live into "perceptual parameters" turned into complex electronic extensions. These instrumental sound masses (which are performed with a certain freedom by players and conductor) turn the whole ensemble into a kind of "Hyperorchestra."

The piece was commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra and Carnegie Hall as part of the 2001 "Orchestra Tech" festival. Sparkler was premiered at Carnegie Hall on October 14, 2001, and is performed as the opening work on each Toy Symphony concert. It exists in both 13 minute and 7 minute versions, and is published by Boosey & Hawkes.


More info.

tristan 'at' media 'dot' mit 'dot' edu