Latin American Electroacoustic Music Collection

alcides lanza, interferences II (1967-I) , 1967

Recording time: 8 min 08 s.
Instruments: Percussion ensemble and electronic sounds
Recorded at: Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. New York, United States.
Remarks: McGill Percussion Ensemble. Pierre BĂ©luse, conductor.

Other resources available:
- Biography of alcides lanza
- Compositions by alcides lanza

About this composition:

Written for the Manhattan Percussion Ensemble and Conjunto Ritmus [Buenos Aires]. Premiered by the Manhattan Percussion Ensemble in NYC [April 13, 1967, under the direction of Paul Price.

Tape part realized at the Columbia-Princeton EMC. The tape part includes totally electronic imitations of percussion instruments. Instrumental sounds have digital echoes, with some instances where the imitations are presented at a subliminal level. interferences II was written in 1967, lanza's second year in New York. He was approached by Paul Price, director of the Manhattan Percussion Ensemble, who asked if he had a piece suitable for the group. lanza decided to complete a composition he had begun earlier in Buenos Aires for the percussion group Ritmus. the work was finished at the Columbia-Princeton studios and is dedicated to both ensembles.

Considering lanza's long involvement with electronic music, it is perhaps surprising that interferences II is his only percussion piece that contains a tape part. Its electronic sounds were created entirely through synthesis; no concrete sounds were used. This is extraordinary, since part of lanza's compositional aesthetic was to have the tape sounds imitate acoustic instruments, and vice versa. lanza's goal was to confuse the listeners: were the sounds coming from the performers or from the tape? The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Studio of the day consisted of a relatively primitive (by today's standards) collection of filters, mixers and sine-tone, square-wave, pulse-wave and noise generators, along with Moog envelope generators and VCAs. There were no polyphonic capabilities, not even a keyboard. As a result, virtually all of the tape part was constructed by hand using splices. One portion of the tape part of interferences II was composed at a later date. The solo tape cadenza in the middle of the work originally only lasted about 10 seconds. It was later redone and gratly expanded on a Buchla synthesizer somewhat similar to the equipment lanza had used originally. this was also done at the Columbia-Princeton studios.