Alvin Lucier'w work was focused in many areas of music composition and performance, including the notation of performers' physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes.
His recent works include a series of sound installations and works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and orchestra in which, by means of close tunings with pure tones, sound waves are caused to spin through space.
Alvin Lucier (*1931):
Music for piano with amplified sonorous vessels (1990).
Hildegard Kleeb, pianoforte. "Music for Piano with Amplified Sonorous Vessels" (1990)
Several small vessels such as wine glasses, sea shells, clay pots, and bamboo cups are placed inside or near a grand piano, not touching the strings.
Microphones are inserted into the vessels, routed through amplifiers to loudspeakers.
As single tones, intervals and chords are played on the piano, resonance tones in the vessels are sounded, picked up and amplified.
Differences in the pitch of the fundamental piano tones and those of the harmonically related resonance tones, determined by the physical dimensions of the vessel, create interference patterns which beat at various speeds and in various rhythms.
Sonorous Vessels was written for Margaret Leng Tan and was first performed by her at the Centre Cultural Français, Berlin, on February 3, 1991, on the opening concert of the "Inventionen '91/Musik im Februar" Festival. Ms. Leng Tan gave the American premiere at Merkin Hall, New York, on April 16, 1991. (Alvin Lucier)