Saturday, April 12, 2008

too loud for orchestra

The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BR) said it had little choice but to drop the world premiere of Swedish-Israeli composer Dror Feiler's Halat Hisar (State of Siege), from a concert because it was "adverse to the health" of its musicians.

Members of the 100-strong orchestra said they could only contemplate playing the piece wearing headphones, after several suffered buzzing in the ears for hours after rehearsals. The 20-minute composition starts with the rattle of machine-gun fire and gets louder.

In his defense, the composer claims his work is "no louder than anything by Shostakovich or Wagner". Machine guns? I am not sure I'm buyin' that.

Details here.

More background on EU regulations governing sound levels and the challenge it poses for the modern orchestra can be found here.

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