Feature
Q&A with composer Gerald Barry #Objects
26 August 2015

Gerald Barry

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

I had a good conversation with Tim Boon (Head of Research and Public History) at the Science Museum and he told me how he was planning to present the music. I found the object on the website.

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

The music is in two sections, the first is two repeating chords with constantly changing instrumentation, the second is the octave played by the one-armed pianist in the Albert Hall in 1906.  A friend described the octave as "The calls at the end like the Austro-Hungarian empire - traces of glory fading forever." That wasn't in my head, but I can see why he says it. The repeated octaves are haunting. Out-of-doors Viennese.

3) What do you think the pianist was like/looked like?

She was 5'8", stoical, an air of poignancy, fair hair, dressed simply, an atmosphere of contained energy.

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?

I hope it will be worth the audience's attention.

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

Everything enhances everything else. 

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

My cooker.

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.

 

Gerald Barry's science-themed playlist

 

 
 

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