for flute, clarinet, bassoon, and electronics(2016)
|Commission||Commissioned through ICE's First Page Program|
|Premiere||August 4th, 2016; Time Spans Festival, Crested Butte, Colorado; Claire Chase – flute, Joshua Rubin – clarinet, Rebekah Heller – bassoon|
Mysterium was written for Claire Chase, Joshua Rubin, and Rebekah Heller, in celebration of a collaborative history dating back to 2006. As such, it is a synthesis of several styles I’ve explored since we began working together, thematically inspired by the evocation of supernatural phenomena and religious ritual (mysteries). These include archaic modal melody with florid ornamentation, the blending of analog synthesizers and acoustic instruments through overlapping fluctuations of pitch and noise, spectral transformations, and echoes of religious-themed modernism in the tradition of Klang-era Stockhausen. I chose the title in tribute to its myriad historical associations, which include the Eleusinian Mysteries, the liturgical chant O Magnum Mysterium, and C.G. Jung’s Mysterium Coniunctionis, a treatise on his extensive study of alchemy.
The rhythmic figure heard in the opening melody is derived from the “sat-nam” chant of kundalini yoga, which roughly translates to “truth is my name.” The long sustained tones on “nam” are ornamented with melodic flourishes inspired by Algerian gasba flute music, alongside the colorful noise of Ciat-Lonbarde and Moog synthesizers. Following this introduction, an incantatory bassoon solo emerges, summoning a primal feeling of longing. The full dynamism of the trio unfolds in response, balancing ethereal passages with tight unison gestures. The remainder of the piece carves pathways through a series of ritualistic vision states, and concludes with a transformation of the C spectrum, using graphic notation to guide performers in “sounding the beyond”.
– Mario Diaz de Leon