On the 125th anniversary of The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan, 50 violinists performed a surreal, uplifting symphony.
Composed by Tristan Perich as part of Red Bull Music Festival in New York, the piece, entitled “Drift Multiply,” also features 50 loudspeakers playing 1-bit audio, the most rudimentary of digital waveforms.
Paired with the violins, the dreamy, video game sounds traveled through the ornate cathedral up to its formidable vaulted ceiling. Spine-like columns adorned with cute yet macabre figurines gave the house of prayer a playful quality; flickering candles at the Red Bull cocktail bar and blue and purple lighting throughout made for a magical experience.
For the opening act, Lesley Flanigan premiered her piece “Subtonalities,” which uses just her voice and two self-made sine-wave oscillators; her crystal clear pipes let out extended high-pitched notes and hums over the deep rumbling feedback before an otherwise silent church.