Last evening's concert finished with an army of dark metronomes. At last I have witnessed a performance of Ligeti's Poème Symphonique for 100 of them. It's an experience both eery and hilarious. Risør's church is so acoustically alive that the wild initial clatter was breathtaking. And as the little machines (which come to seem ever more human) die at random, I became mildly obsessed with the idea of a single soldier standing -- flapping away. Who would it be?
This performance worked perfectly. Members of the Risør Festival Strings wound their metronomes each 17 times in front of the audience, then stood at attention. They were dismissed once they'd neatly allowed the clatter to begin. The last surviving metronome, having had diminishing company for 18 minutes or so, clicked away all alone for a time ... then there was a slight deadening in his resonance ... then a great emptiness.
Here's a shot of the army on stage: