Virtual Bizet meets Gabrieli
Towards the end of March 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, I put out a call via social media for solo 'performances' of an extract from Bizet's L'Arlesienne. My friend Ness Church had posted a video of her playing the extract on a trumpet during the Thursday evening Clap for Our Carers (supporting the UK NHS) and it occurred to me we could produce an antiphonal version with players from around the world.
Reacting to the massive number of Zoom mixes‚ that were quickly created during the early stages of the Covid lockdown and very much inspired by the antiphonal works of the first Viennese School of composers, the way they used buildings for their acoustic properties and the current-day reconstructions of 16th Century Venice by Paul McCreesh, this irreverent version of the Bizet brings players from around the world in a 'worldly' space.
Participants were invited to send recordings made by mobile phone. No click tracks. No tempi provided. No auto-tune. No beat syncing. Any key. Any instrument. Any style. New players or really experienced. Well over sixty people contributed. Everyone was included.
The final 'orchestra' was quite unusual‚ from Lithuanian kankles, to a typewriter, tuned glass bottles, eleven bass trombones, to…