Entropia : for symphony orchestra
by Andrián Pertout (2017)
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'Entropia' or 'Entropy' was commissioned by the 14th 'Europe-Asia' International Festival of New Music (27-30 September, 2017, Kazan, Tatarstan, Russian Federation) with funds provided by the Australia Council for the Arts for performance by the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, and represents a Hommage à Peter Sculthorpe (1929-2014). The dedication to Peter Joshua Sculthorpe AO OBE, whom is unquestionably Australia's most celebrated contemporary composer is consequential, as he was the teacher of this composer's teacher (Brenton Thomas Broadstock AM) and hence representative of a symbolic continuation of this great Australian composer's monumental musical legacy. The work explores the musical implications of combinatoriality as an organizational determinant, as well as the concept of entropy, which in physics may be defined as the "thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system" - an alternative definition stating that entropy is essentially a "parameter representing the state of disorder of a system at the atomic, ionic, or molecular level; the greater the disorder the higher the entropy." The musical challenge being a sonic interpretation of this entropic notion of a measure of order (or disorder) and what could in effect be described as a gradual decline from order/predictability to disorder/chaos and vice versa; achieved in part by paying tribute to Peter Sculthorpe's Sun Music series, and particularly Sun Music I (1965) whereby the composer's artifice is the depiction of the Australian landscape via a utilization of both Indigenous Australian and Asian influences. The eight distinct sections of 'Entropia' fittingly travel musically between calmness and agitation, between equilibrium and perturbation, between serenity and anguish - an antithesis that functions in tandem with the Australian landscape, which is generally perceived as being harsh and unforgiving, yet beautiful and spectacular. At the end of a virtuosic marimba solo, the bass clarinet (soon thereafter supported by the contrabassoon) even mimicks the timbral nuances of an Australian didgeridoo, synonymous with indigenous Australia and the 'great' southern land. The ordered nature of the harmonic concept of 'homometry' and the serialization of the 48 all-interval tetrachords, not to mention tempo canons, magic squares, bell ringing sequences and an expanding and contracting arch-form numerical series generate a semblance of the order/disorder dichotomy, hence playing an important part in artistically defining entropy within the compositional methodology of the work.
Instrumentation: 2 flutes (1 doubling on piccolo), 2 oboes, (1 doubling on English horn), 2 Bb clarinets (1 doubling on bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (1 doubling on contrabassoon), 4 F horns, 3 Bb trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (3 players), celesta, harp, strings (184.108.40.206.8).
Duration: 11 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional
Dedication note: Hommage à Peter Sculthorpe (1929-2014)
Commission note: Commissioned with funds provided by Australia Council.. Commissioned by the 14th ‘Europe-Asia’ International Festival of New Music with funds provided by the Australia Council for the Arts for performance by the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra
First performance: by Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, Guerassim Voronkov — 30 Sep 17. Saydashev Grand Concert Hall, 14th ‘Europe-Asia’ International Festival of New Music, Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Peter Sculthorpe (1929-2014) Combinatoriality, Entropy Sun Music I (1965) Homometry, Tempo canons, magic squares, bell ringing sequences
Composer's No. 441.
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