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Elevator Music on Mars


  • Alto Saxophone, Electric Guitar, Synthesizer, Percussion (1 player), Tape

  • Duration 6:40 min.

  • First performance (original version) on July 10, 2003, at Emilia Romagna Festival, Italy by Simone Santini, saxophone, Giacomo Cristini, electric guitar, Fabrizio Festa, synthesizer, Federico Poli, percussion

  • First performance (revised version) on May 19, 2010, in Chicago, USA by Jeremy Ruthrauff, saxophone, Steve Roberts, electric guitar, Michael Keefe, synthesizer, Jeff Handley, percussion

This work tells about an elevator journey from the root to the top of the volcano Olympus Mons on Mars. It takes a while to reach the top of the largest volcano in the Solar System, which measures three times higher than Earth's highest mountain Mount Everest. Hence music like this can be performed to the impatient space tourists of the future as entertainment during the elevator journey. The idea of an elevation has been projected to the musical material in various ways. Undoubtedly the most obvious application of this idea is the gradual ascending of the chords. In the synthesizer part, there can be heard a rigorously ascending line, which acts as a chromatic cantus firmus. Also, the tape part is based solely on the idea of ascending pitch. Overall, the same idea has been applied at all levels of the musical structure, from surface to substructure. TR, 2003

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"Another strong use of tape was the American premiere of Tomi Räisänen’s Elevator Music on Mars (2009), where a fire crackles around a sax, synths, electric guitar and percussion as they mimic a gruelling ascent on Mars’ volcano Olympus Mons. Projected crimson images functioned like a cool, lava-bubbling backdrop."

Bryant Manning, Chicago Sun-Times, May 21, 2010

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