Decaying Flight of the Bumblebee
flutists, light, plinths
This work reduces virtuosic performance to an objective study, where the act of performance is displayed within an exhibiting space rather than performed on a stage. Where familiar music becomes a mass of sound.
The musical piece Flight of the Bumblebee is a symbol of virtuosic performance. Since its conception in 1899 as an orchestral interlude, it has been isolated from its narrative origins to become a technical showcase for the solo instrumentalist. In this work, five flutists play Flight of the Bumblebee on loop as an unsynchronised ensemble, each playing to their own metronome track. Each repetition slows down within the range of approximately crochet =160 bpm to semiquaver = 30 bpm, as if a magnifying glass were taken to the music for closer examination. Flutists are stationed on exhibition plinths for the performance.
Created for Siteworks Festival, commissioned by Bundanon Trust.
Second performance at Backstage Music concert series, Sydney.
Review: Art + Australia "The garden was packed with people, young and old, frozen in their careful listening, and as the breeze lifted some of the day’s heat, and the stars blinked at us from above, the sensory receptions were intense." - Prudence Gibson
Photos by Ollie Miller