"Stellar Convergence"

for orchestra
(2009 - 2011)


This symphony was originally performed as three separate pieces that were composed for Ya-Ping Wang and the National Pingtung University of Education Orchestra during the years 2009 - 2011. After performing the first piece, "Stellar Convergence", Ms. Wang and the orchestra requested that I continue the epic journey described in the program notes. Eventually, I decided it would be possible to continue the narrative of that piece and a large structure of three movements was envisioned. The next year, 2010, the orchestra performed "Dark Passage", after which Ms. Wang requested that I complete the trilogy and so "Scattering Light" followed in 2011. The resulting symphony is a unified work in which a structural series of pitches and even some motives and textures from the first movement reappear later on.

Complete descriptions of each movement as a stand-alone composition can be read on its own web page, but a very brief description of the imagery of each movement can be thought of as follows:

I - Stellar Convergence
Imaginary space travelers drift past various star formations and clouds of stellar dust as they move toward the center of a giant galaxy. Upon their arrival at the center, the strong gravity of a mass of swirling stars and the galaxy's central black hole pull them down to where they suddenly disappear. Whether they have died, or have crossed over to another universe is a question that will never be answered. In the end, all we can observe are the same twinkling stars that began this movement.

II - Dark Passage
This movement takes the perspective space travelers might have as they descend into a black hole. Imagining the strong gravity of a black hole is capable of destroying the basic elelements of time and space, rhythms that continually add and subtract beats are used to render any sense of regular time impossible. The structural series of pitches used in the first movement returns here to highlight a final descent into chaos. It is a very rough ride and, even for those experiencing it, filled with mystery as well as anxiety.

III - Scattering Light
Scattering light begins with an explosion similar to the explosion of a star or a brand new universe. Assuming our travelers have existed through their ordeal, they are now witnessing the birth of something new, something they could never have imagined. At first, there is a time when everything is simply energy speeding out in all directions. No defining features are possible. Eventually, dust and gravity begin working magic and threads of melody begin emerging. As larger formations grow out of the chaos, stars begin shining and the grandeur of a new existence is realized. In the end, we gradually drift away from this act of creation and into the peaceful silence of an ever-distant space.

(duration of the entire symphony ca. 25 minutes)