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On the Edge of Infinity : for Symphony Orchestra

by Andrián Pertout (2019)

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On the Edge of Infinity


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On the Edge of Infinity : for Symphony Orchestra / Andrián Pertout.

Library shelf no. 784.2/PER 12 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

On the Edge of Infinity was commissioned by Julian Burnside AO QC, and especially composed for Alfredo Rugeles and the XXI Festival Latinoamericano de Música de Caracas for performance by the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela (SBSOV). The work is dedicated to Venezuelan orchestra conductor, pianist, economist, educator, activist, and politician José Antonio Abreu (1939-2018), who in 1975 founded 'El Sistema' - a "publicly financed, voluntary sector, music-education program," which in time was to adopt the motto 'Music for Social Change.' According to the International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies El Sistema-inspired programs provide "free classical music education that promotes human opportunity and development for impoverished children." On the Edge of Infinity explores the musical implications of combinatoriality as an organizational determinant via an octodecipartite musical representation of an imaginary voyage to infinity. No doubt hypothetical because as Stefan Klein explains in On the Edge of Infinity: Encounters with the Beauty of the Universe (2018): "The universe that is visible to us has a radius of 46 billion light years. That corresponds to the distance that light could travel in the 13.8 billion years since the Big Bang. This distance is greater than 13.8 billion light years because the universe has expanded in the meantime. We can neither see nor reach anything that is further away, because light from regions beyond the horizon is still on its way to us. And because the cosmos is still expanding, they will remain invisible to our descendants as well." Each of the eighteen demarcations (plus a final additional coda) of the imaginary voyage to the edge of infinity are accorded with a separate pulse, or tempo (hemidemisemiquaver, or sixty-fourth note to breve, or double whole note) and dynamic (ffff, or fortissississimo to pppp, or pianissississimo), as well as a conceptual incremental timeline that expands the duration of each demarcation at the rate of four seconds. In order to then introduce some indeterminacy to the system and avoid a linear trajectory with a fixed slope or gradient, a semblance of random deviation is realized by the reordering (combinatorial displacement) of six tripartite subdivisions of the eighteen substructures in accordance to all six possible combinatorial permutations of a three-element set (321, 312, 132, 123, 213, and 231).

Work Details

Year: 2019

Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, english horn, 2 Bb clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 F horns, 3 Bb trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (3 players), celesta, harp, strings (min.

Duration: 12 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional

Dedication note: Dedicated to José Antonio Abreu (1939-2018)

Commission note: Commissioned by Julian Burnside.. Composed for Alfredo Rugeles and the XXI Festival Latinoamericano de Música de Caracas for performance by the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela (SBSOV)

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