Everything We See in the Sky
- Laurie Radford
- Year of composition: 2005
- Duration: 15:00
- Instrumentation: string quartet and processing
- Commission: Penderecki String Quartet, with support from the CCA
Music often serves as a microcosm of the universal, of the motion, energy and space of daily existence, of the fabric and turbulence of natural elements, of planetary resonances. Music reaches out and imprints in sound singular points in history that are the confluence of individual energies and intentions, explorations and engagement with the forces in the world around us. Music has shared with science, literature, religion and art that moment of release and commitment when the intellect and will are focused and during which there is a transfer of energy from maker to made, from imagination to object, from dreamed to manifested. In art as in science, it is these moments of collision that serve as the spark of ignition, that feed the creative process, that lead to the acts of performance and communion.
There are moments in history when this focus is intensified by a variety of factors; intensified to a level such that new vistas are unveiled, doors are opened that were closed, windows are thrown up and an air so fresh that it intoxicates ushers in the possibility of new worlds. One hundred years ago was such a moment, when the teeming imagination of revered tradition and new world discovery in league with art and science gave birth to ways of doing and seeing that changed the meaning of “everything we see in the sky.” In 1905, the scientist Einstein published his papers on relativity, the writer Jules Verne came to the end of a lifetime of imagination that voyaged deep into the future, and the composer Varèse discovered the acoustic theories of Helmholtz and turned a corner that would change music and “organized sound” forever.
100 years later, these sparks of energy and insight continue as points of reference and departure. It is energy that is at the heart of Everything We See in the Sky. Different states of energy are explored, contrasted, superimposed. These states oscillate between extremes of register, density and activity, between introspection and exploration. The two technologies of string instrument and computer jostle and combine, striving for a synthesis of wood and microchip, resin and process. The digital signal processing employed in the work serves to extend the acoustic instruments and lend them new timbral and rhythmic profiles. The willful combination of these two media is the spark and impetus for voyage, for flights of fancy, and for moments of calm when one may ruminate on everything we see in the sky.
Everything We See in the Sky was commissioned by the Penderecki String Quartet with support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA). Work premiered by Penderecki String Quartet.