• Alev Lenz
  • 7 Planets (2022)

  • Bosworth Music (World)

Please contact classical.berlin@wisemusic.com for information about the full performance material. The order of the individual works does not have to be maintained, they can also be performed separately.

  • 8 Voices
  • 28 min 15 s
  • Alev Lenz
    • 17th November 2024, De Doelen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
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Programme Note

I. Neptune
II. Uranus
III. Saturn
IV. Jupiter
V. Mars
VI. Venus
VII. Mercury

Exploring the planets, their wondrous influences on us and our magical togetherness in the solar system has been stirring my interest ever since I spotted a glowing Venus in the night sky in the spring of 2020. A vision that became a fixture for many months while the world seemed to spin out of orbit and our realities rapidly changed. Observing the planets became a solace, offering a night time comfort with their consistency in a time when there wasn’t any around us. 

During that time I stumbled upon a video that encouraged musicians to 'ditch the pitch', and due to my Turkish heritage I was already familiar and comfortable with quarter tones, so this led me to dive deeper into the possibilities of singing to the planetary frequencies. 

The voice is such a unique instrument, why not take it beyond the five lines? Having previously worked with the vocal ensemble Roomful Of Teeth, I couldn’t think of a better constellation of singers to go on this `out-of-pitch-and-space-journey` with me.

Since planetary frequencies are too low for tuning chords on regular resonator boxes, I had to get creative about ideas of how to do this analogue. After some thought, I unstrung a guitar, cut off its neck, stuck a tuning fold holder on top and built the tuning fork resonator. Subsequently I travelled to see Roomful of Teeth at their 2022 residency at MassMoCa and born were the pieces: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. All written on the planetary frequencies that reside outside of concert pitch, these pieces honour the planets of our solar system that travel alongside us through time and space. 


Information on performance:

Planetary tuning forks required or digital frequency off backing track.

I had the chance to explore the 7 planetary frequencies in the studio and in my writing during 2020/21. Gazing into the sky, particularly in the year 2020, the planets displayed their stunning beauty, staying in their orbit regardless what swept us off our feet earth-side. Mars, bright red, Venus, our evening jewel and Saturn and Jupiter in close conjunction. The spectacular sky offered space. When we most lacked precisely that. After writing these pieces I was driven by curiousity to see just how these out of concert pitch celestial serenades would be possible to be performed live.

Mercury - 141.27 Hz (10 Hz Alpha) = C#3/Db3 (138.59 Hz)
Venus - 221.23 Hz (9 Hz Alpha) = A3 (220.00 Hz)
Mars - 144.72 Hz (8 Hz Alpha) = D3 (146.83 Hz) 
Jupiter - 183.58 Hz (7 Hz Theta) = F#3/Gb3 (185.00 Hz) 
Saturn - 147.85 Hz (6 Hz Theta) = D3 (146.83 Hz) 
Uranus - 207.36 Hz (5 Hz Theta) = G#3/Ab3 (207.65 Hz)
Neptune - 211.44 Hz (4 Hz Theta) = G#3/Ab3 (207.65 Hz) 

When you see the tuning fork symbol, realise pitch to planetary tuning fork resonator.
Arrows indicate breath out and in respectively.


Percussion required:

Koshi Aria Chime
Walnut Crackers x2

More Info