Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra

29/08 – 29/08/2010
Sunday 29/08 18:00


We are pleased to welcome you to a performace of Alvin Lucier's Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra on the occasion of the new bridge from 1857's Tøyenbekken to Kunsthall Oslo's Trelastgata being open for one day. We will serve soup, totally free and gratis, at 1857 from 18:00, the concert will start at 19:00.

1857 also urges you to see WE: Live electronic concert by Pil and Galia Kollectiv at Kunsthall Oslo, Trelastgata 3 at 20:00.




Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra (1988) is part of a series of pieces for conventional musical instruments that Alvin Lucier started in the early 1980s, and that explore the natural timbral and spatial characteristics of sound waves.

Written for solo triangle, Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra has the player dampening the instrument with the thumb and forefinger of one hand, while tapping with the other. The performance consists of moving the geographical locations of these two activities and changing the pressure of the fingers on the triangle as well as the speed and loudness of the tapping. The performance thus reveals the acoustic characteristics of the folded metal bar.




for Adolfo Salazar

Luis Buñuel, 1922


Pretentious young ladies of the orchestra, insufferable and pedantic. Jagged mountains of sound.

Violins that have just entered menopause. These spinsters still retain their half-tone voices.

Murmurs of sea and woods. Serenity. Deep eyes. They have the conviction and the grandeur of Jesus' sermons in the desert.

Diplodocus of instruments. Oh, the day they decide to let loose their great bellowing, driving away the terrified spectators! For now, we see them oscillate and growl with contentment as the contrabassists tickle their stomachs.

Anthill of sound.

The flute is the most nostalgic instrument. That she who in the hands of Pan was the thrilling voice of the meadow and forest should now find herself in the hands of a fat, bald fellow ... ! But even so, she remains the Princess of instruments.

A hypertrophied flute. Now and then, poor thing, he sounds all right.

Bleating become wood. Its waves, profound lyrical mysteries. The oboe was Verlaine's twin brother.

     Tenor Oboe
The mature experienced oboe. Well traveled. Its exquisite temperament has become more serious, more inspired. If the oboe is fifteen years old, the tenor oboe is thirty.

Bassoonists are the fakirs of the orchestra. Now and then, they watch the terrible reptile they hold in their hands, as it shows them its forked tongue. Once they've hypnotized it, they lay it in their arms and become ecstatic.

The bassoon of the Tertiary Period.

A child's game. Water of wood. Princesses knitting in the garden, moonbeams.

     Trumpet with Mute
Clown of the orchestra. Contortion, pirouette. Grimaces.

     French Horns
Climbing toward a summit. Sunrise. Annunciation. Oh, the day they unfurl like a streamer!

A slightly German temperament. Prophetic voice. Succentors in an ancient cathedral with ivy and a rusty weather vane.

Legendary dragon. The other instruments tremble with fear at its booming, subterranean voice and wonder when the prince in burnished armor will come to deliver them.

Light shattered into fragments.

A silver streetcar through the orchestra.

Little toy thunder. "Somewhat" menacing.

     Bass Drum
Obfuscation. Coarseness. Boom. Boom. Boom.

Skins filled with olives.




About the artists:

Alvin Lucier (b. 1931, USA) has written pieces that explore acoustic phenomena and auditory perception since the 1960s. From 1966–1976 Lucier was part of the Sonic Arts Union with fellow composers Robert Ashley, David Behrman and Gordon Mumma, a highly influential group who toured and performed pieces by the four members. Among his key compositions are "Music for Solo Performer" (1965), utilising EEG electrodes attached to the performers' head; "I am sitting in a room" (1969) in which a record is played back and re-recorded to bring out the resonant frequencies of a room; and "Music on a Long Thin Wire" (1977) in which a piano wire is activated by magnets and an oscillator to produce sounds and overtones.

Håkon Stene studied in Oslo. Freiburg and San Diego with Bernhard Wulff, Pascal Pons and Steven Schick among others. 2005–2008 he was selected for the launch programme INTRO for young soloist by Concerts Norway. Solo-and chamber performances with ensembles asamisimasa, Oslo Sinfonietta, BIT20, Rolf Lislevand Ensemble and Nils Økland Ensemble include festivals such as Ultima, Bergen Festival, Borealis, Stavanger International Festival, Venezia Biennale, Feldkirch, Musik+, Cheltenham festival, Nordic Music Days, GAS, Happy Days, Cutting Edge, 2Days&2 Nights, Huddersfield, Stockholm New Music, Darmstadt, Le Weekend, Audio Poverty and Shared Sounds; tours around Europe, Mongolia, Vietnam and Indonesia as well as recordings for several labels, Radio and TV. From 2010–2013 he will be working within The National Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowships Programme at the Norwegian Academy of Music, developing new repertoire for multi-percussion.


Thanks to Ny Musikk

1857 is supported by Arts Council Norway.



(Håkon Stene performing "Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra" (2010))


(Håkon Stene performing "Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra" (2010))


(Alvin Lucier performing "Music for Solo Performer" (1965))


(Yantra diagram of 9 interlocking triangles)