An Unaware Cosmos

Complete Work Title:

An Unaware Cosmos — modular cycle for multiple soloists and chamber ensembles

Performance Medium:

various soloists and mixed chamber ensembles of two to six instruments (see below for details).

Duration:

variable (c.10:00-30:00+)

Date Composed:

August 2012 – August 2018

Dedication:

A celebration of humankind’s quest for knowledge through skepticism and critical inquiry, and to those freethinkers who have devoted their lives to such noble pursuits.

Movements (Modules):

The cycle is comprised of the following nineteen individual modules, any number of which may be combined in any way:
  • Que sçay-je?, for solo Eb clarinet
  • A Splendid Torch, for solo piccolo trumpet
  • …e pur si muove, for solo violin
  • A Noble Ideal, for solo xylophone
  • Unweaving a Rainbow, for viola (or violin, or violoncello) and piano
  • The Illusion of Permanence, for violin and violoncello
  • Celestial Teapot, for percussion (vibraphone, crotales, tam-tams) and piano (or harp)
  • Blind Watchmaker, for contrabassoon and 2 percussion (4 woodblocks, 4 log drums)
  • A Fleeting Symmetry, for guitar, harp, and harpsichord
  • On the Perimeter of Ignorance, for piccolo, celesta, and flexatone
  • A Delicate Geometry, for voice (countertenor or mezzo-soprano), electric guitar, and accordion (or harmonium or positive organ)
  • La Contagion sacrée, for trumpet, horn, trombone, and percussion (optional, one player: afuche, sand blocks, or rattle)
  • Pascal’s Fallacy, for saxophone quartet (SATB, ATTB, AAAA)
  • Glorious Accidents, for 4 woodwinds (double-reeds and/or saxophones)
  • Transient Dominion, for Flugelhorn (or trumpet), bass trombone, piano, and percussion (tom-toms, cymbals, tam-tam)
  • Shadows on the Horizon, for string quartet
  • The Indelible Stamp of Our Lowly Origin, for four contrabasses
  • La vanité des superstitions, for alto flute, English horn, bass clarinet, horn, and bassoon
  • Die Tyrannei der Mehrheit, for low brass (four parts, up to four players per part, drawn from bass trumpets, euphoniums, tubas) and percussion (2 to 4 players: chimes, tam-tams; gongs, bell plates, and almglocken, ad libitum)

Additional Information:

  • The individual modules in this cycle are mutable, allowing for the resulting music to be fragmented, dislocated, suspended, disrupted, and penetrated in often unpredictable ways, and exploring a variety of relationships—timbral, spatial, conceptual, structural—both within and between modules.
  • A performance of An Unaware Cosmos should include two or more modules; however, some modules may be performed independently (e.g., Unweaving a Rainbow, Que sçay-je?,” The Illusion of Permanence).
  • This work was supported in part by a faculty fellowship from the University of North Texas Institute for the Advancement of the Arts.
  • Finalist, NYC Contemporary Music Symposium at Columbia University 2022 (“Unweaving a Rainbow”).
  • Eight modules published in the January 2016 issue of ink&coda, an online journal of prose and music.

Recordings:

Premiere performance of the complete cycle, featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble, Nova Ensemble, and Mélange Saxophone Quartet: 26 October 2018 at the University of North Texas Murchison Performing Arts Center (Denton, TX).
Animated score of a realization with six modules, performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble on 28 October 2018 at Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX).
Realization with five modules, performed 28 November 2017 by members of the UNT Nova Ensemble at the University of North Texas Voertman Concert Hall (Denton, TX).
Realization with five modules, performed 18 March 2022 by the Ball State University New Music Ensemble for the 21st Century Guitar Conference at Ball State University (Muncie, IN).

Score:

Program Note:

Performance/Broadcast History:

DateVenueLocationPerformer(s)
15 March 2024Friday Morning Musicale—Contemporary Art Music Project for CAMPGround24Tampa, FLContemporary Art Music Project
18 March 2022Ball State University Sursa Hall—The 21st Century Guitar conferenceMuncie, INBall State University New Music Ensemble
13 May 2019Janáček Academy of Music and Performing ArtsBrno, CzechiaJAMU student and faculty performers, with guest artists Heidi Dietrich Klein (voice) and Richard Shuster (piano)
11 May 2019Liszt Academy of MusicBudapest, HungaryEszter Krulik, violin; Richard Shuster, piano
7 April 2019FUGA Center of ArchitectureBudapest, HungaryEszter Krulik, violin; Richard Shuster, piano
28 October 2018Southern Methodist University, Caruth AuditoriumDallas, TXInternational Contemporary Ensemble — Pala Garcia, violin; Katinka Kleijn, violoncello; Daniel Lippel, guitar; Nuiko Wadden, harp; Jacob Greenberg, piano/harpsichord; Nathan Davis, percussion
27 October 2018University of North Texas, Voertman Concert HallDenton, TXInternational Contemporary Ensemble — Pala Garcia, violin; Katinka Kleijn, violoncello; Daniel Lippel, guitar; Nuiko Wadden, harp; Jacob Greenberg, piano/harpsichord; Nathan Davis, percussion
26 October 2018University of North Texas, Murchison Performing Arts Center Winspear HallDenton, TXInternational Contemporary Ensemble, UNT faculty and student performers, and guests
28 November 2017University of North TexasDenton, TXNova Ensemble
21 October 2015Janáček Academy of Music and Performing ArtsBrno, Czech RepublicJoseph Klein, JAMU student ensembles
18 March 2014University of North TexasDenton, TXJoseph Klein, UNT faculty and student ensembles