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Today in WMH: Musical Airplane Propellers

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4/10 Today in Weird Music History: 1927.  George Antheil’s Ballet Mecanique was presented at Carnegie Hall in New York City.  A score that was originally intended, but never used, for an experimental film of the same title, the 1924 version called for 16 player pianos playing four separate parts, 4 bass drums, 3 xylophones, a tam-tam, 7 electric bells, a siren, and 3 different-sized airplane propellers (high wood, low wood, and metal), as well as 2 human-played pianos. The revised version for 1927 called for 10 human-played pianos instead of the player pianos.  That change was not enough avoid disaster.  The piece “created such a fiasco–technically, musically, and sociologically–that it was not performed again for over 60 years” (Source, http://www.antheil.org/balletmec.html)

Have a listen to this interesting work.  It’s really not as strange as it seems: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8Vn_65yBD4

 

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