If the overture to a symphonic work can be understood to prefigure what’s to come, then how about the sounds the orchestra makes before it even gets to the overture?
That’s a question implicit in Favorite Intermissions, a recent release by composer, musician and phonographer (that is, field-recording artist) Christopher DeLaurenti. The album contains six recordings made in symphony halls before or between performances — it’s all the shuffling, fiddling and casually improvised effluvia that is part of the concert-going experience, but that rarely gets noticed, let alone discussed, let alone released commercially.
One of the tracks, “SF Variations” (tantalizingly, it’s just two seconds shy of John Cage’s 4’33”), is available for free download, and it’s not entirely ambience (MP3). There’s also some ensemble work on a seemingly impromptu “Oh! Susannah” that’s chaotic enough to be taken for a Charles Ives arrangement. Also available is an interview with DeLaurenti, recorded at KOMO radio in Seattle, Washington (MP3).