Alvin Lucier: Swing Bridge; Sizzles

Alvin Lucier: Swing Bridge; Sizzles

MOD-CD-312 (Mode Records, CD)

FIRST RELEASE (19 May 2023)

Playing time: [61'50"]
Tracks: 3
Booklet pages: 8
℗ 2022 Mode Records
© 2022 Mode Records
Main country of recording: Australia
Country of manufacture: Australia
Reviewer: John Dante Prevedini
Review of Alvin Lucier: Swing Bridge; Sizzles published on 8 July 2023

Austin Buckett, organ (Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ)
Australian Art Orchestra

Alvin Lucier (1931-2021):

1 Sizzles (1997) for organ, various drums and vibrating materials

2 Swing Bridge (2015) for organ, ensemble and pipe wavers

3 Sizzles take 6 (bonus track)

This release brings together two works by Alvin Lucier centered on the pipe organ, a perfect instrument for Lucier's compositional practice. Both are first recordings. Swing Bridge was commissioned by this record’s ensemble, the Australian Art Orchestra, for the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ. The score requires that specific pipes be removed from the organ and run into three specially constructed offset chests, each accommodating two pipes (six pitches total). These pipes are manipulated by three or more performers, known as 'pipe wavers'. The organ and pipe wavers are accompanied by the ensemble who create long tones microtonally associated to the organ. For Sizzles the composer writes: 'Drums of various sizes are randomly placed throughout the performance space. Fine materials such as lentils, chickpeas, and candy hearts are sprinkled on the drumheads. As low organ tones are sounded, the skins of the drums vibrate sympathetically, causing the drums to sound and the material to move. Each drum is individually amplified with a contact or air microphone and a separate amplifier.'

First recordings, made 5 January 2016 (Swing Bridge) during the work's first performance and on 26 February 2017 (Sizzles) at Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne, Australia.