An Inescapable Entanglement
This is a piece about simultaneous unity and opposition, connectedness and separateness. The idea of the piece came to me during a concert as I was struck by the similarity of the early concerto and the property of quantum entanglement. Much of the late 16th and early 17th century forms of the ‘concerto’ were an extension of the spatialized antiphonal style of Giovani Gabrieli, in which different groups of instruments and voices perform in different parts of the performance space, playing both alternately and sometimes together. Though separated in space and independent of each other, the groups affect each other and are bound by the common thread of the music they are performing at that instance. The property of quantum entanglement is in some way (perhaps superficially) similar in that entangled particles separated over arbitrary distances are still bound to each other and affected by actions upon their counterpart in ways which are currently only partially understood, and that even Albert Einstein called ‘spooky’. The piece is a synthesis of minimalist elements, technology, and the 16th century concerto ideal, using eight loudspeakers as a chorus to achieve the antiphonal effect.
In a performance, the work is staged and arranged like a traditional piano concerto, except the piano will have microphones placed just above the strings and the audience will be surrounded by 8 loudspeakers placed behind and on each side of the seating area. The scoring takes into consideration the effects of the digital signal processing (software written by the composer) which substantially thickens the texture in many sections.
Red Rock is a symphonic poem commissioned by the Henderson Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Taras Krysa, premiered in the Fall of 2013. The music is based on the interaction of two musical materials, the first, calm and diatonic, presented by the French horns after the introduction and elaborated by the trumpets and the woodwinds; and the second, more mysterious, angular, and chromatic, also introduced by a solo French horn in the second section. Similar to a sonata form, these materials go through transformations and developments in the middle section, and return evolved and reconciled at the end of the movement.
The piece suggests a gliding trip over the stunning landscape of the Red Rock canyon –near the city of Las Vegas, with its sharp geological contrasts, its ever changing shapes, and its surprising colors.
Ferdinando De Sena
To me, reverence is an attitude of awe and respect. It is how we should feel in the divine presence of God, and in fact, towards the divine light that is in every human being. To decipher something is, literally to decode it. But it also means to perceive and plumb a message from a possibly obscuring phenomenon. If this music is an analog to deciphering reverence, it is so in this way: In the myriad of human experience and response, there are many modes and colors, but it is possible, throughout them all, to glean and hold onto that reverence for each other. In the variety of moods and moments of this music, that spark of reverence is present.
Willem van Twillert
Branches of Singularity
Branches of Singularity is based on two main themes, and all other motifs found in the piece are derived from them. The theme in the introduction [Track 4] is, in fact, a reversal of the main theme, and is the same theme as in the Andante e molto cantabile [Track 7], but there it sounds in a totally different atmosphere. The main theme is heard first in Tempo giusto [00:54, track 5] played by the low brass instruments, majestic and resplendent while other instruments let the theme sound in advance or in smaller sections. This theme also sounds in the second slow movement [Track 9]. The second plangent theme sounds in the horns first at [00 :29, track 5 ]. The rhythmic patterns play a vital role with a beat in the middle of the bar, also at the end and in other sections of the composition. The total form of the composition can be stated as a theme and set of variations, but this statement is far too simple a description because the form is much more complex than a set of variations.
The general atmosphere of Branches of Singularity gives a feeling of optimism, the joy of life and is (hopefully) a pleasure to play for all musicians and a pleasure for the audience to hear.
The general rhythmic pulse is based on a 3+3+2 feel rather than a typical 4/4 bar.
Symphony No 2: Ghosts of Reason, Opus 76
Musical forms, like landscapes, seem to be haunted by past inhabitants. I feel this applies to Australia a lot. I remember as a child growing up in Western Victoria, an abandoned place where I used to go to play. It had been a house years before and was just broken building bits with foundations but no walls now plus a fantastic wattle grove - cold but beautiful in winter. The sense of being somewhere remote but lived in before was palpable. Musical forms are like this to me - for an Australian composer, Beethoven and Schubert seem to be wandering the Simpson Desert at times.
Ghosts of Reason - Symphony No. 2 is a one-movement work of about 18 minutes duration. The piece was commissioned for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Arvo Volmer as the Schueler Composition Award for 2008. This award was established through the generosity of Mr Norman Schueler and Mrs Carol Schueler, in honour of Mrs Gogo Schueler. The piece was composed in 2008 immediately after the opera The Children's Bach during a ‘double winter’. It was sketched out whilst in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada in a tranquil snowbound studio. The work was then completed on the coast south of Sydney where stillness is replaced by invariably brutal, winter Southerlies.
Starting out on the piece I had in mind the aspiration to create a prolonged sense of yearning mixed with silence and space but balanced by a sustained, rolling and uplifting climax. As Dante put it in the Divine Comedy, "And so we came forth and once again beheld the stars."
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