The Sinking of the Titanic

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The Sinking of the Titanic
Photograph: courtesy Le Poisson
Gavin Bryars's The Sinking of the Titanic
On the night of April 14–15, 1912, the "unsinkable" luxury liner Titanic bit it in the North Atlantic, feeding our imaginations with romantic and morbid inspiration for the next century. In 1969—three decades before Celine Dion crushed the story's musical antecedents with the Song That Shall Not Be Named—British composer Gavin Bryars created his gorgeous, experimental tone poem, The Sinking of the Titanic. Thanks to an indeterminate structure, the ship goes down differently in each performance; strains of Episcopal hymn "Autumn" are drowned beneath haunting ambient sounds. After a stunning performance of the piece at the Guggenheim last April, the Wordless Music Orchestra teams up with Ensemble LPR for a pair of performances to mark the sinking's centennial.


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