for ensemble of nine musiciansclarinet, bassoon, horn, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass (2013)
|Commission||Commissioned by Scharoun Ensemble Berlin|
|Premiere||March 10, 2013; Villa Aurella, American Academy in Rome; Scharoun Ensemble Berlin; Anthony Cheung, conductor|
“We find no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.”
With this famous conclusion drawn by James Hutton in 1788, modern geology took a decisive break from a linear narrative, and human history became disentangled from the geological record. Uniformitarian processes that have always existed will continue to do so, forming an unending chain of cyclical time. To paraphrase the opening lines of Eliot's Four Quartets, past and future are always present - in the present.
I'd like to think of this piece as representing some of the ways in which metaphors drawn from geological "deep time" and cycles of time can be made heard. There are never strict processes, and they do not repeat. Moments of directionality are followed by stasis, only to start up again. This is especially so in the first section, which gradually transforms a static structure with elements of "ceaseless motion" bubbling under the surface into a more active foreground texture. The final section of the piece is another slow transformation, in which the strings literally erode their tunings into new, strange forms.