What Clark Gable said after "Frankly my dear ..." characterizes my feelings about most electronic music, but must admit being somewhat impressed by the sound of the opening work at Bing Concert Hall's inaugural concert.
It was a three-minute fanfare of sounds including harbor horns, a Canadian icebreaker (are U.S. ships not loud enough?), music student assignments and even the hall's steel beams.
According to Robin Wander of Stanford News Service, the soundscape fanfare was meant to show off the hall's advanced acoustic and technical systems which, to tell the truth, are more impressive than the fanfare itself:
The Department of Music's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) faculty and staff have been involved in the design of the infrastructure and technical systems for Bing Concert Hall from the very beginning.
Working with the Stanford project core team — Nagata Acoustics, audio/visual consultant Sonitus and Ennead Architects — they developed the 24.6 channel sound system tailored to the hall and intended to support a great range of music and performances (the fanfare utilized a smaller version of the full multichannel system).
Faculty members Chris Chafe and Fernando Lopez-Lezcano created Fugue 1 for the opening night, and Fugue 2, a longer fanfare for June 1 when the season closes.
For his sound-collecting expedition, Lopez-Lezcano spent an hour above the cloud (the floating ceiling of Bing Concert Hall) with a digital recorder, carefully banging on anything that would make noise. Ladders, handrails, covers for the rigging motors, and steel beams are all fodder for the final fanfare mix in both original and computer processed forms.
Chafe's search for sound took him a bit farther off campus. He was at a sound symposium in St. John's, Newfoundland, where he collected horn sounds from the Harbour Symphony and also the noise of a Canadian icebreaker.
Included in: Music News: Jan. 15, 2013