The February 2009 profile of Joseph Bertolozzi remains one of the most unusual ones I’ve written for Chronogram. In it, the Poughkeepsie composer discusses the then upcoming premier of Bridge Music, the percussion suite he’d written that uses the Mid-Hudson Bridge as an instrument. In the piece, Bertolozzi mentioned how the idea for such an undertaking came about during a trip to Paris. There, he’d, forgive me, hit on the idea of writing music that used the Eifel Tower as an instrument. At the time, owing to bureaucracy and logistics, he resigned himself to work with a structure closer to home, hence the local focus of Bridge Music. But, now, with the nearing completion of Tower Music, Bertolozzi is close to realizing his earlier dream.
In June 2013, he was granted access to the Eifel Tower with the purpose of recording his mallets, drumsticks, and other implements striking various pieces of the iconic French landmark. Back home in the Hudson Valley, he’s hard at work on mixing and sonically tweaking the audio files to become the finished Tower Music. It wasn’t planned that way, but when completed the work—like the spirit of the people of Paris and the tower itself—will stand as a defiant retort to terrorist attacks that took place in the city last November. Here’s a short video about the making of Tower Music: