Short interpretation of Jem Finer’s ‘Longplayer’

Around 1995  Jem Finer thought to create a musical composition that would last 1000 years without repeating itself, from the end of 1999  to the end of 2999, and that would then restart playing at the beginning of another millennium.  The result is a potentially never ending musical piece with a circular structure that can be performed in eternal cycles. It is so possible to experience time and its flow almost in a tangible physical way, through the medium of music. As I said initially, I do find deeply moving the artist idea to entrust the next generations with its care and survival, thus creating a strong human bond with them.

The live performance of Longplayer at the Roundhouse in 2009 was the first ever:  for 1000 minutes it gave body and flesh to the original composition that is normally played only by computers and through a very well thought multi sensory combination of elements enriched and strengthened the initial concept. In the performance the circular structure of the composition is echoed by bronze singing bowls which are distributed in six concentric circles inside the circular building, as planets on orbits in a solar system, and played by performers moving along them in perfect harmony with the musical score. In the meantime daylight changes into the darkness of night, according to the natural cycle, and bystanders keep coming and going.

All these elements produce a very complex experience which engages the mind and the senses in subtle ways and in which the immensity of space and time come into contact with humans of today and of the future.







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