In a new mini-documentary by Siemens, musician Will Bates harnesses the sounds of wind power in Iowa to recreate Strauss' "Blue Danube." Partnered with the company, Bates sought to enhance the beauty of turbines by combining their modern aesthetic with classical music. And to prove that Iowa's beauty is more than just corn, he embarked across the Hawkeye State to assemble the iconic waltz.
Armed with microphones and PVC pipes, Bates experimented with wind in his studio in New York before heading out to the Midwest. "We had first envisioned creating an original piece but felt the scale and style of the Blue Danube waltz was well suited due to its recognizable sound and the quality of the tones," said Bates in a Q&A with Siemens. "It is haunting when translated."
In 2013, Siemens was contracted to build the United States' largest on-shore wind power installation in southeast Iowa, to be completed by the end of 2015. The 448 new wind turbines will supply 317,000 households with clean power and create over 1,000 new jobs. Throughout the United States, Siemens has installed enough wind turbines to power approximately 3 million households.
Despite the recession, Iowa's economy is growing, according to the Mid-America Business Conditions Index from Creighton University. In June, however, Iowa's economy slowed slightly, allowing Minnesota to reach the top spot among the Midwestern states.
"We filmed just after a very hard winter –- rough on the farmers like the one who’s field we filmed and recorded on," Bates said. "It made the work feel all the more important as we featured how the local economy is impacted by this wind power and the local manufacturing for the turbines behind it. I think this greater message helped make the project something unique and unusual –- bigger than just the music itself."
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, between 2011 and 2012, wind generation in Iowa rose by 31 percent. And among all 50 states, Iowa ranks first in portion of energy coming from wind generation.
Listen to the full version of Bates' "Blue Danube" below: