Global Make Music day evokes Ives’s “Universe Symphony”

Posted on: June 29, 2009

Alex’s Ross’s article in the July 6 New Yorker opens with a quote from Charles Ives. “ ‘If only I could have done it,’ Charles Ives once said. ‘It’s all there—the mountains and the fields.’ The composer was speaking of his dream project, the ‘Universe Symphony,’ which was to have depicted nothing less than the formation, the evolution, and the future of the world, from the rocks below to the heavens above. … I thought of Ives several times on June 21st, when New York joined more than three hundred cities—including Montevideo, Djibouti, Kabul, Hanoi, and Sydney—in celebrating Make Music, a global sonic bacchanal that takes place each year on the summer solstice.” The New York version, which started two years ago, features “more than eight hundred events across five boroughs. … Various Make Music events—the pianos, the glockenspiels, the megaphones, and a gathering of bagpipes on Staten Island, which, regrettably, I missed—articulated a running theme called Mass Appeal: convocations of many instruments of the same type. We were building to the grand finale, New York’s answer to Boulez beneath the pyramid: a presentation of Henry Brant’s ‘Orbits,’ for eighty trombones, organ, and soprano, in the great spiralling rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum.”

Posted June 29, 2009