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Scattering Light
for orchestra
(2011)

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This is the final piece in a series of three compositions I have written for conductor Ya-Ping Wang and the National Pingtung University of Education Orchestra. Although the three pieces were composed and premiered separately, there are both musical and extra-musical ideas that bind them together as a single multi-movement work. It is therefore appropriate to perform them separately, or as a complete three-movement cycle.

The imagery that binds these pieces together are photographs of deep space taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The first piece, Stellar Convergence, is based on an imaginary journey to the center of a distant galaxy, at the center of which is a giant black hole. The second piece, Dark Passage, is a fantasy of what might happen when all matter, light, time and space are being sucked into that black hole. The final piece of this series, Scattering Light, is based on the notion that black holes could theoretically lead to other universes. To me, such notions are as fantastical and spiritual as they are theoretical and scientific and I hope to inspire this mixture of feelings within listeners as well. While not really following scientific theories about black holes, this piece is based on the central idea that an intense contraction, or pulling in, will eventually result in an explosive expansion. Such explosions have been observed in dying stars and, of course, form the basis of the so-called “big bang” theory of the universe. Like such explosions, Scattering Light begins with a loud burst of energy that produces a bright shimmering texture. As the texture expands it becomes quieter and slower and various sparkles and melodies begin to appear. In the end, what remains is what began the first piece in this series: the mystery of distant stars in a living universe. An important difference between these two pieces unfolds, however, as certain pitches that were used to create conflict and resolution in “stellar Convergence” all appear together at the end of “Scattering Light”. It is as if the universe has been rearranged so that ancient dichotomies no longer exist and conflicting forces now peacefully coexist.

(duration ca. 8:30)
Scattering Light may be played separately, or as part of the
Symphony Stellar Convergence