Vortex 4, may 1958 (?) Program Notes, typed by Barb. Golden, 4/95 974w

VORTEX 4 MAY 12, 13, 19 & 20 8:00 & 9:15 P.M. Morrison Planetarium, San Francisco

Fantastica.....Russ Garcia A collage of sound patterns from one of the more imaginative "music of outer space" LP recordings. Effects by Ted Keep.

Symphony of the Birds.....Jim Fassett The Mysterioso Movement from Fassett's experimental symphony composed of bird sounds, which have been manipulated to simulate tonal and harmonic values.

Three-Fifty Dash Two.....Gordon Longfellow An experiment in middle and high frequency sounds designed for rotational playback.

Song of the Holy Children......Karlheinz Stockhausen Excerpts from this well-known Cologne Studio work which is constructed from vocally intoned phonemes and pure sinus tones.

The Awakening.....L.K. Dunham "I think of this simply as a rather charming Afro-sonic gestalt. LKD

Aoi-No-Ue.....Toshiro Mayuzumi Excerpts from the Japanese No play, "Princess Hollyhock", in an electronically stylized simulation of actual No narration and music. Produced at the Electronic Studios of Radio NHK, Tokyo, Japan.

Space Race......Effects by Jose Duarte A provocative application of synthetic sound to popular culture.


Piano and Piano.......David L. Talcott A new work exploiting the modifications possible to the natural piano sound.

Rhythmology......Henry Jacobs A trilogic study in polyrhythmic intensity. Vocal intonations by Tagore Swingington.

Flight.....Pieter Van Deusen Composed for dancer Ann Halprin, this work exploits the musical possibilities of natural sounds through looped repetitions.

Untitled.... George Abend An electronic treatment of piano and reed sounds with implications of jazz feeling.

Logos....Henry Jacobs A contrast of sound textures arranged serially as a sound track for the animated film, "Logos", by Jane Belson. (The film was shown in April at the Brussels Exhibition.)

Trilogy in Two channels.....David L. Talcott An entirely new presentation of this "early" Vortex work over two separate audio channels. The 38 peripheral Planetarium loudspeakers will interact with a special center playback system (located on the projector platform) and thus totally envelop the audience. This experiment may suggest a new dimension of Vortex.

Static Relief.....Tooru Takemitsu An interesting eclectic work where Takemitsu combines the techniques of the French "concretists" and the German "sinusoidals".

Recordings Used 1.....Liberty LRP 3084 (12"LP) 2.....Ficker C 1002 (12" LP) 3.....45 RPM pub. by T. Presser Co., Bryn Mawr, Pa. 4.....Okeh 4-7100 (45RPM) 5.....MEA Sterotape (?JH) 101 6.....Universal PSP 1009 (Japanese 10" LP)

A stereophonic tape of the highlights of Vortex I, II, and III has been produced by Musical Engineering Associates of Sausalito. It can be purchased at the Main Desk of the Planetarium for $11.95.


Technical Consultants Alvin Gundred and David L. Talcott Visual Consultant George Bunton Publicity Donna Teich and Gary Barrett Announcer Charles Levy Special Projector Loaned by KRON-TV Visual Coordinator Jordan Belson Audio Coordinator Henry Jacobs

Vortex IV is sponsored by the Audio Visual Research Foundation with the cooperation of the Morrison Planetarium.

Magnetic Tape

In an age characterized by revolutionary technological changes, magnetic tape recording has emerged as a highly efficient means of storing information. Beyond this, tape presents a new opportunity to musicians: one performer and sound engineer can unite their functions into one artistic expression. The field of tape composed music is relatively new, having developed in France ("musique concrete"), Germany (Elektronische Musik), Italy, Japan and the United States in the last decade. The challenge of the possibilities of magnetic tape is compelling.


Vortex is a new form of theater based on the combination of electronics, optics and architecture. Its purpose is to reach an audience as a pure theater appealing directly to the senses. The elements of Vortex are sound, light, color, and movement in their most comprehensive theatrical expression. These audio-visual combinations are presented in a circular, domed theater equipped with special projectors and sound systems. In Vortex there is no separation of audience and stage or screen; the entire domed area becomes a living theater of sound and light.

Vortex had its beginning in 1957 as an audio-visual experiment under the joint sponsorship of radio station KPFA and the California Academy of Sciences. Founders Jordan Belson and Henry Jacobs ascertained the Morrison Planetarium with its extensive loudspeaker system ideal as a demonstration laboratory. With the thirty-eight high-fidelity speakers, actual movement and gyration of sound was made possible by means of a special rotary console.

Utilizing the elaborate Planetarium lighting system along with special projectors, coordinated full-scale visual effects gave promise of an exciting new form of theater. The premiere of Vortex on May 28, 1957 to a capacity audience established this audio-visual experiment as a true theater of the future with a potential for directly reaching an audience with unique sensory experiences not based on the customary story, music, or entertainers. Vortex is direct. There is no age, linguistic nor aesthetic barrier to experiencing Vortex.

On the basis of the success of thirteen performances of Vortex to audiences totalling over 5000, the Audio-Visual Research Foundation was established in 1958 as a basis for interchange of information and to gain support from composers, artists and scientists throughout the world who are working with the experimental aspects of audio-visual phenomena. Already interest in the Vortex project has come from Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and Japan.

At present the Foundation is continuing the public demonstrations at the Morrison Planetarium as well as experimenting with an air-supported radome as a laboratory for new projection methods and sound reproducing em (?JH)


The Planetarium employs a 75-watt Langevin amplification system. Speakers are Jensen, University and Bell & Howell. Bass speakers are Jim Lansing, driven by a custom 100-watt amplifier: Tape playback is provided by the new model professional Magnecord. All tape travels at 15 inches per second in this demonstration. Most of the original Vortex tapes were made on Ampex 600 and 350 recording machines.