Joseph Bertolozzi: Bridge Music composed for the Mid-Hudson Bridge

You can drive over it, walk along it, see it lit up at night and marvel at its engineering – now you can hear it played as a musical instrument. Quite possibly the largest percussion instrument on the planet, the “Franklin D. Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge speaks through Joseph Bertolozzi’s Bridge Music in this remarkable release. Five years in the making, Bridge Music is a composition in 10 movements using only the sounds of the bridge itself to create a unique sound art installation, with titles like “Bridge Funk”and “Rivet Gun.”

In a fascinating ten-minute Bonus Track, Bertolozzi takes the listener through an audio tour of the making of Bridge Music. To create Bridge Music, Bertolozzi recorded hundreds of sounds on the bridge’s various surfaces, catalogued them by pitch and location, and then set about the task of creating a virtual instrument from which he could turn his vision into sound. “I play only big instruments,” Bertolozzi explains, referring to his international career as a percussionist and organist. This “audacious plan” (New York Times) has brought Bertolozzi sustained international attention. As part of the 400th anniversary celebration of Hendryk Hudson’s voyage up the river that now bears his name, Bridge Music is available free to the public through Listening Stations on the towers of the Mid-Hudson Bridge and FM transmitters in waterfront parks along the Hudson River. International interest has brought this project far beyond the borders of the Hudson Valley. In addition to feature stories in the Associated Press (AP) and NY Times, the project has been reported around the world in places like China, Sweden, Italy, Argentina, England, the Mid-East, Africa and Australia.

The bridge’s 1920s designer, Ralph Modjeski, was a highly skilled pianist and a classmate of Paderewski. He ultimately chose engineering as his profession, and became one of the 20th century’s greatest bridge designers. “Both as a pioneering engineer and as a musician who loved the music of his own time, I think he would be intrigued to experience this boundary-shattering synthesis involving his beloved bridge and the music of our own time” Bertolozzi writes in the liner notes to this album.

TRACK LISTING: Meltdown – Bridge Funk – Dark Interlude – Toward the Horizon – The River That Flows Both Ways – Landfall – Bright Interlude – Steel Works – Rivet Gun – Silver Rain
BONUS TRACK: Joseph Bertolozzi: A Bridge Music Audio Tour