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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s ‘A Requiem for Meters’ Makes Use of Old Gas & Electric Meters

By Steve Nagel s.nagel@classicalite.com on Dec 11, 2015 08:41 PM EST

If there was ever a piece of music to describe as “electrifying”, British composer Gary Tarn’s "A Requiem for Meters" certainly seems to fit the bill. As part of a Smart Energy GB campaign to raise awareness of Great Britain’s new Smart Meters, the three-minute long piece utilizes old gas & electric meters, literally making them a part of the music. By converting the old analog meters into instruments and making the best of their acoustic qualities, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is letting everyone know, with a bang, that the days of analog are long behind us.

Making use of the famed experimental music space Abbey Road studio two, "A Requiem for Meters" incorporates all manners of defunct hardware. According to Independent.ie, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra used "electric meter violins, cellos made from empty gas meters, and a timpani drum constructed from 18 gas meters welded together” in the composition. These unique instruments were all designed by Paul Jefferies.

Smart Energy GB executive Sasha Deshmukh said, “This project has brought together the skills of some of the best instrument makers in the country with our finest musicians to record this beautiful and unusual piece of music which will mark a momentous transformation, taking place in every home in the country.” According to the Smart Energy GB website, the new Smart Meters will have replaced all analog gas & electric meters by 2020, so the time to announce the change (whether in an artful manner or not) is now.

The piece, “A Requiem for Meters”, although brief, is quite dramatic -- that is, dramatic for an homage to a pile of refuse that would otherwise be quietly recycled and forgotten.  With the piece now available as a free track on Spotify, on YouTube [below], and on the Smart Energy GB website, the utility company appears to be welcoming the future by giving its past a proper send-off. Members of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra can also be seen in a gallery at News Grio having fun with the "A Requiem for Meters" project and with their Abbey Road studio excursions.

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TagsRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra, Gary Tarn, Experimental Music, Abbey Road Studios

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