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29 June 2014

Poème symphonique for 100 metronomes, by György Ligeti

György Ligeti composed his "Poème symphonique" in 1962. This unusual work requires 100 metronomes, a conductor and ten performers. The metronomes (which should be completely unwound) are all set up on the stage, then wound up and adjusted to a specific frequency decided by the conductor. When all the metronomes have been wound up, there follows a period of silence lasting two to six minutes (the exact length is decided by the conductor). At a sign from the conductor, all the metronomes are set in motion, as simultaneously as possible. The performers leave the room while the metronomes beat in time. They gradually run down and stop, one after the other, and the pace of each metronome left gradually becomes clearer. Little by little, only those set at the slowest speeds continue to swing. The piece ends once the last metronome has continued by itself for a moment. The performers then return to the stage to the applause of the audience.

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