Philharmonia Orchestra’s Holst sound installation puts the listener inside the ensemble

Posted on: May 24, 2012

In Wednesday’s (5/23) Telegraph (London), Ivan Hewett writes, “Upstairs at the Science Museum, past Foucault’s Pendulum and all that fascinating early industrial machinery, something very unusual is going on. You hear it before you see it, as the sounds of Holst’s The Planets filters down the corridor. Eventually you find the source, a new interactive installation entitled ‘Universe of Sound’. … On the walls there are close-up images of the musicians playing Holst’s stirring music: a group of string players in the first room, oboes and clarinets in the second, brass in the third, and so on. The idea is to draw people into the ‘universe of sound’ that is the orchestra. It follows on from the Philharmonia Orchestra’s first digital installation ‘Re-Rite’ almost three years ago, which was focused on the Rite of Spring. … Like ‘Re-Rite’, this installation adjusts the sound-mix in each room, so that, for example, the percussion sound is more prominent when the percussionists spring into life. … A wide screen gives a conductor’s eye-view of the orchestra, and there’s the option to ‘conduct’ at different levels of difficulty. If you go wrong, the sound goes wrong too, and there’s a sudden barrage of coughing (perhaps a slow hand-clap was judged to be just too cruel).”

Posted May 24, 2012