Will Play Avant-Garde Music for (or on) Food

Das Erste Wiener Gemseorchester (the First Vienna Vegetable Orchestra) is an avant-garde outfit that shops at Vienna's Naschmarkt and then carves the pumpkins, turnips and so forth into musical instruments--flutes and percussion instruments, largely, though sometimes they twang on rhubarb strings. Their performances, which they insist are very serious, end with everything being cooked into soup.

They actually have a CD, "Gemise," which you can order online from an Austrian music merchant at http://www.http://extraplattehttp://.at. If you insist on hearing a preview, check out the orchestra's own Web site, which is http://www.iftaf.org/iftafframe.htm (conveniently, both sites are in English as well as German). Just go there, click on the words "gemseorchester (vegetable orchestra)" in the top bar of the screen, then click on "listen to the sound of the vegetable" and pick a tune.

You have to have RealPlayer (it's free and you can download it there if you need to), but sometimes it's hard to get connected. So here's a rundown on the selections:

* "Letscho74": Evidently named for a Hungarian side dish of tomatoes and onions and presumably played on the same, this track sounds like the soulful, yearning moans of a dying cow.

* "Verde Ambiente": Mostly like somebody torturing humpback whales, though toward the end they might be sea gulls.

* "Radetzky March": This jaunty well-known tune (the one that goes "badabump, badabump, badabump bump bump" but isn't the "William Tell" overture) proves a powerful argument for the use of more traditional instruments. Played on vegetables, it's terrible. In fact, it's ... garbage.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World