Performing the Longest Musical Composition Ever Written

Performing the Longest Musical Composition Ever Written

For the first time ever, Jem Finer will be leading a live performance of a 1,000 minute section of his 1,000 year-long 'Longplayer' at London's Roundhouse Theatre.

Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
  • 10 september 2009

In a world where our laptops and portable music players are filled with hundreds of albums that could play for days on end without ever hearing the same song twice, the question of what to listen to has increasingly gotten more complicated. Just one more example in a long list of the myriad ways that information saturation permeates nearly every facet of our daily life. Now what if you could take all those choices away and only listen to one song for the rest of your days?

If you’re concerned with the potential for boredom at the prospect, then perhaps considering the longest piece of non-repeating music ever written might change your tune. Lasting for a 1,000 years, Jem Finer‘s Longplayer is just that, and for the first time ever, he will be leading a live performance of a 1,000 minute section at London’s Roundhouse Theatre on September 12th.

The concert page explains:

A tiny fragment from its great expanse, Longplayer Live will be played by a 26-strong all-star orchestra on a unique 20-metre wide instrument – effectively a giant ‘bronze age’ synthesizer, with highly resonant singing bowls for tone generators and humans for power.

The live aspect adds a distinctly human aspect to a composition, that since its inception on Dec. 31st, 1999, has only been played by a computer. A parallel live performance, the “Artangel Longplayer 2009 Conversation,” will accompany the Longplayer concert in Roundhouse’s main space. Bringing together a collection of 24 leading writers, filmmakers, scientists, academics and technology activists, the 12-hour discussion will consist of one-on-one conversations inspired by the philosophical implications of long time.

Roundhouse Theatre

[image via carlcollins on Flickr]


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