In 1966, Swedish composer Karl-Birger Blomdahl read the just-released novel “The Tale of the Big Computer,” written by physicist Hannes Alfvén. The book is a fictional record of the evolution of mankind and the computer from the perspective of a historian in the distant future.
Filled with inspiration, the composer decided to adapt the book into an opera. He planned to involve engineers and researchers in the production, making use of cutting-edge computer and sound technology to create a technological spectacle. Blomdahl made lists of sounds he wanted to record for the opera, sounds that would evoke a distant past and a distant future: swordplay, of cultural revolution, of outer space. To represent the human condition of the time (the late 1960s), the composer planned to use the hum of brainwaves and the beating of stressed-out hearts.
On Friday the 14th of June 1968, he came home from work, flushed with excitement. The research and planning was finished, and he jubilantly told his wife, “Next week, we’ll begin recording and in 2 months, the opera will be… but… what is happening?” At that moment, Blomdahl suffered a fatal heart attack. The opera was never realized.
Artist Anna Lundh will dramatize the composer’s list of sounds by staging a piece that she describes as a “concert” at Marian Spore. Beginning with the original list of sounds, Lundh has expanded the list to include additional sounds from our past and present – the future that Blomdahl never saw.
The piece will be performed live on Saturday, 7 November at 7pm and 8.30pm at Marian Spore. Following the performance, it will be presented as an ongoing installation as part of the Marian Spore collection.