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VIEW SCORE: A River of Time-SCORE (SCORE–PDF)
A River of Time
I. Perception (flowing through a curved lens)
II. Memory (a broken glass shatters back together)
III. Convergence (from the synthesis of past and future, the present emerges)
Epilogue: The Persistent Illusion of Time
I have become fascinated in recent years by the idea of time and the scientific studies that continue to unravel only deeper levels of mystery about the nature of time. Once thought to be an unyielding and constant measure, time was displaced by relativity theory as being bendable and subject to gravity. Contemporary studies in physics seem to indicate that at the smallest and most fundamental levels of the universe, paths that will be taken in the future effect the paths of the past, rendering any perception of causality empty. Most recent thinking on the nature of time suggests that the very concept of time may arise with our consciousness, proposing the (somewhat unsettling!) idea that a key component on which we base our experience of the world is simply an apparition. This gives aphorisms about watched pots never boiling, watched clocks never ticking, and time flying when you’re having fun a whole new meaning! It also leads to the further unsettling idea that anything and everything we perceive may have no basis in any objective “reality” and that there is only our perception.
This piece is a reflection and meditation on these thoughts. This work is constructed on a set of interval cycles that is established in the Prologue through an imitative melody on a constant rhythm. Here, an homage to organum reflects the idea of humans—through all but our most recent history—of time as the constant of the universe. (“Organum” is a centuries-old musical genre that focused on a consistent mode of rhythm and the “perfect” intervals of 4ths, 5ths, and octaves—the intervals on which the cycle used for this piece begins and ends.)
Movement I focuses on time as linear, but warped and inconstant—flowing forward, but faster, slower, and blurred. Movement II allows the musical materials on which the piece is built to flow backwards just as, at a level we can not perceive in the universe, the future seems equally likely to flow toward the past. Movement III is constructed from the fundamental musical material overlapped onto itself, rendering the passage of time a vacant concept.
Finally, in the Epilogue, the original opening melody recurs again, but accompanied now by the overlapped beginning and ending of the cyclical musical materials, signifying the idea that though our perception goes on as it ever has, it goes on with the knowledge that the progressive passage of time may be nothing but illusion.