Lazarus for orchestra (2016)
by Olivia Block
The title refers to Lazarus Department Store, popular in the Midwestern United States during the 20th century. Lazarus, a commission for the Chicago Composers Orchestra, re-creates imagined historical sound spaces or mimics obsolete phonographic technology.
The piece re-creates a walk through an American department store in the seventies. The orchestra is split into two groups, with two separate conductors. Musicians quietly play overlapping “easy listening” or Muzak tunes, while recordings of ventilation hiss and atmospheres from commercial spaces enshroud the orchestra in waves of noise. This piece is influenced by the works of Charles Ives, and Der Rauschen compositions by Peter Ablinger, among others. Lazarus also reflects my interest in found sounds from the second half of the 20th century, field recordings, and a compositional emphasis on dynamics and timbre.