Ice Orchestra Blows Hot and Cold
Cold but warm...is how you could describe the sound of an ice trumpet carved from a 2,500 year old glacier. It's part of the orchestra of the Norwegian percussionist, Terje Isungset, who has been making his instruments out of ice for the last twenty years. He started experimenting with the sounds of stone and glass and then progressed to ice. There is a difference between natural ice and factory ice--the ice from the factories is "dead and has no sound". Even with the natural ice, some instruments have amazing tones whilst others have nothing.
So how does he do it? It's simple: "We travel to a place, find ice, then carve the instruments there, play the concerts, and then give the instruments back to nature where they belong. You can have 100 pieces of ice; they will all sound different. Perhaps three will sound fantastic. Nature decides whether it's possible to play or not: if it's too mild or windy, we can't."
He has made five ice albums so far, each is recorded in an igloo to take advantage of the total silence within. Other instruments include a mouth harp made of metal taken from a German bomber.
For his show in London, Cinderella, he has created the music, using: "a glass drumkit, waterphone (an arrangement of brass rods and water that is drummed or bowed), ram's horn, the ice trumpet (which has been treated so as not to melt, or freeze to his lips) and bicycle wheel, as well as stones, wood, mouth harp and piano frame." The reviews have been great: "the extraordinary Norwegian composer Terje Isungset is on stage throughout, playing every instrument under the Scandinavian sun from a mouth-harp to a trumpet made of ice" so take the children for an ecological/cultural treat.