Musica ex Machina

02 August 2024/12h15/ Belgium / Brussels

Composers and theorists of the Renaissance cultivated a strong fascination with the internal mechanisms of music. Counterpoint was conceptualized as a perpetual reflection of the universe’s divine organisation: intervals, time signatures and proportions could be perfect or imperfect. InAlto performs a selection of the most fascinating contrapuntal masterpieces by composers such as Costanzo Festa, Francesco Soriano, William Byrd, and Christopher Tye: music that seeks to reflect the perfection of God’s creation. 

In the footsteps of uomo universale Leonardo da Vinci, engineers and inventors aimed at constructing and perfecting (musical) instruments and other contraptions that were able to imitate and (re)produce such man-made perfection. In 1615, the French hydraulic engineer, garden architect, and huguenot Salomon de Caus published a treatise Les raisons des forces mouvantes, in which he described machinery for gardens and grottoes. Among the machines was a mechanical organ that was to perform a madrigal by Alessandro Striggio! Striggio and de Caus were among the earliest, but not the only ones fascinated by automated music. InAlto presents Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach’s piece for mechanical clockwork as well as Haydn’s and Beethoven’s compositions for mechanical organ. 

In 1977, composer and inventor of electronic instruments Laurie Spiegel's "Kepler's Harmony of the Worlds" traveled to the edge of the solar system as part of Voyager 1 and 2's "Golden Record". 

To complete this triptych with a panel dedicated to music from the twentieth century, InAlto arranged selected compositions from Laurie Spiegel mythical debut Album: "The expanding universe" (1980) and show how Spiegel always contemplated orbits, heavenly bodies, and the cosmos through her compositions, while remaining affectionately human. 

Musica ex Machina

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