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Holy, Holy, Holy: Antheil's Magic Lacunae

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 56 min
Event Type: Documentary Program Origin: KPFA

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On April 10, 1927, George Antheil's Ballet Mécanique, scored for multiple pianos and percussion (including airplane propellers and electric doorbells) was given its American premiere at Carnegie Hall. An exciting discovery by Mrs. George Antheil of Los Angeles and KPFA's Charles Amirkhanian sheds extraordinary light on the genius of Antheil's early music. Gathering dust on the shelves of Mrs. Antheil's archives has been a set of three player piano rolls of the Ballet Mécanique in its original longer version (longer than the 1953 revised version which is best-known and runs only about 17 minutes in performance). This document, realized mechanically by the Pleyela Company to Antheil's carefully notated specifications, conforms to the original 1924 version of the work and contains evidence of a musicologically significant rediscovery. Antheil was the first composer in music history to incorporate lengthy silences as compositional material within a movement of a piece of music. The effect is hypnotic: here are driving, rapid, mechanically precise rhythms and throbbing assaults on every key of the instrument, frighteningly juxtaposed with sonic vacuums.

Part 1 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  Ballet Mécanique [excerpts] (1923-25, rev. 1952-55) / George Antheil -- A Jazz Symphony [excerpt] (1925) / George Antheil -- Sonata No. 2, for violin, piano, and drums [excerpt] (1923) / George Antheil -- String Quartet No. 1 [excerpt] (1924-25) / George Antheil
Performers:  New York Percussion Group (Ballet Mécanique)
Carlos Surinach, conductor (Ballet Mécanique)
Genres:  New Music; 20th Century Classical
Subject:  Antheil, George, 1900-1959; Friede, Donald; New music; 20th century classical; Percussion ensembles; Chamber orchestra music; Symphonies (Chamber orchestra); Sonatas (Violin and piano); String quartets
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Antheil, George, 1900-1959; Surinach, Carlos
Recording Date:  4/10/1972
First Broadcast Date:  4/10/1972
 
Part 2 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  Ballet Mécanique (1923-25) (27:45) / George Antheil
Genres:  New Music; 20th Century Classical
Subject:  New music; 20th century classical; Piano music; Player piano music
People:  Antheil, George, 1900-1959
Recording Date:  11/14/1971
First Broadcast Date:  4/10/1972
 
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