Feature
Q&A with composer Claudia Molitor #Objects
21 September 2015

 

1) What was it that drew you to the object in the Science Museum that you picked for this project?

I was intrigued by the fact that this magnificent object, the 2LO, as beautiful as it looks, is nonetheless redundant and obsolete in its glass tomb. Similar to those precious Stradivari violins that sit in vitrines. Sure, fantastic to look at and to appreciate their history, but also a little sad that they aren't used for their intended purpose, to produce, and in the case of 2LO to broadcast sound. 

2) Is there a certain musical effect/technique you have used to help bring this object/space to life?

Not really an effect, but the idea was to make 2LO resound again, to remind us that it was not an object to early radio listeners at all, who would have never seen the machine itself, but simply heard the material it broadcast. To that effect Robert Seatter from the BBC collated some early material from 1922 that 2LO would have broadcast which I then mixed into the composition. The piece ends with a somewhat mangled rendition of the first ever piece to be broadcast via radio on 24th December 1906 in America, which was Handel’s Largo from his opera Xerxes.

3) What is your favourite radio programme?

That’s impossible to answer. I am pretty obsessed with listening to the radio whilst working, but I’m also omnivorous in my radio consumption.

4) Your piece is going to be premiered at the Science Museum in October in a unique walk-through concert with Aurora Orchestra. What are you most looking forward to about this event?

Actually I’m most looking forward to hearing what all the other composers have created around the objects they have chosen, and also to see and hear the space of the Science Museum in a completely different way.

5) What is the value of a project like this linking two disciplines (science & music)? Can one enhance the appreciation of the other?

I think science and art are very closely linked already. In most of my work I will enter into a prolonged period of research depending on the project. This might entail working with historians, archivists, scientists, philosophers and other artists. It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly how one influences the other, but what is certain is that both science and art are only possible with a healthy dose of imagination.

6) What bit of science/technology could you not live without?

So many!! Everything from medicine to running water to theoretical physics. And of course without recording technology this piece would not exist!

 

The Objects at an Exhibition concert will take place at 7:45pm at the Science Museum on Saturday 3 October 2015. Further details of the event and the complete 6-track album can be found here.

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