This Is Your Orchestra. This Is Your Orchestra On Drugs Being Attacked By Elephants

This one is for Protium, who said he could only handle about twenty-four seconds of listening. I find the visuals help make it slightly more bearable.

Now, I should point out that the YouTube video is mislabled – it’s not a “school orchestra” at all. Thus Spake Zarathustra, the music to the title sequence of Stanley Kubrick’s “A Space Odyssey” – as performed by the Portsmouth Sinfonia.

I remember a Twitter conversation with someone (might have been Milton) who said that he knew someone was in the band – apparently he was an expert at another kind of instrument, but the requirements of joining Portsmouth Sinfonia is that you must NOT be able to play the instrument you’re given:

The early repertoire of the Sinfonia was drawn from standard classical repertoire (such as “The Blue Danube” waltz and “Also sprach Zarathustra”), so that most orchestra members had a rough idea of what the piece, or at least famous parts of it, should sound like; even if they could not play their chosen instrument accurately, they would at least have an idea that they should be going higher at one part then lower at another, and so on. The end result was the musical ensemble producing not only the correct note but several notes nearby, ‘clouds of sound’ that gave an average impression of the piece.

Many modern composers and musicians found this to be interesting and even profound; the comedic aspects of the music were merely a bonus, though it was used extensively for marketing purposes. Brian Eno was interested enough to join the orchestra, playing clarinet, and subsequently producing their first two albums.

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