Long into the Night, Heavenly Electrical Music Flowed Out of the Street
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for Piano, Color Video, and Digital Sound .. (1995) .. 6:56

This work requires an acoustic or electric piano with an 88-key keyboard. All performing is done on the keys. No amplification of an acoustic piano is required.

Very difficult.

Broadway at Madison Square
Performers at the Keyboard

This concert video portrays an incident in the history of musical technology that took place on October 21, 1907.


On that day, electricians of the New York Electric Music Co. were servicing a transmission wire that ran underneath Broadway.


This transmission wire connected the output of the Telharmonium--the first electrical music synthesizer--to subscribers. At quitting time, the men left a receiver in a manhole connected to the wire.


The music emanating from the manhole was so strange, and the resulting rush-hour traffic jams in busy Madison Square so immense, that the event made front-page headlines in all the papers.


The work begins with a brief, straightforward explication. Then the key visual and musical elements are reconstructed as pictorial-aural rhythms of layered fragments--symbols of memory. Their continua having been ruptured, the dismantled images on the monitor become ephemeral. Yet their period context secures these shattered fragments in an encased reality of suspended time, conveyed as an exaggerated morphology, a fantasy of early technology.

The source materials for this work were historical photographs and drawings, recordings of antique autos, and one of the popular tunes that was heard by the crowds that gathered--“Kiss Me Good-bye and Go, Jack” (1901).

Broadway at 25th Street at Night
Carriage Driver, Madison Square
Broadway at 25th Street at Night
Teeth on the Dynamos
Times Square

CLICK BELOW FOR FLASH MOVIE


PIANISTS WHO PERFORM “LONG INTO THE NIGHT, HEAVENLY ELECTRICAL MUSIC FLOWED OUT OF THE STREET”

Barbara Blegen
Simon Docking
Andria Fennig

Laura Gordy
Kevin Grigsby
Steven Harlos
Laura Hibbard
Nannette Shannon
Jennifer Taylor
Jennifer Waleczek
Robert Winslow


OPEN PDF FILE OF PERFORMANCE SCORE

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OPEN PDF FILE OF SETUP DIAGRAM AND INSTRUCTIONS

CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Production, Direction, Script, Camera, Image Processing, Music, Editing: Reynold Weidenaar

Narration: Brian Lehrer

MIDI Keyboard and Piano: Barbara Blegen

On-line Editor: Nils Nichols

Image Processing Technician: Hank Rudolph

MIDI Technician: Alex Noyes

Picture Sources: New York Public Library, New York University Library

Audio Source: Marilyn Reese

Music based on “Kiss Me Good-bye and Go, Jack,” by Ben M. Jerome, 1901 Jos. W. Stern & Co.

Production assistance provided by the Experimental Television Center, which is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and private contributions.

Production made possible with assistance from William Paterson College and the Standby Program at Windsor Video.

Audio produced in part at Harvestworks Inc./ Studio PASS through the Artist-in-Residence Program.

Copyright 1995 by Magnetic Music Publishing Co. (ASCAP).