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Stellar Convergence
for orchestra
(2009)

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This piece was inspired by photographs that were sent back from the Hubble Space Telescope. In those photos, one can see huge, incredible and unimaginably distant dust clouds, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies. While observing these photos, I imagined myself possessing the speed and size needed to travel among these formations just as one might travel through natural wonders in a car or airplane on the earth. Stellar Convergence is what resulted from this exercise in imagination.

Formally, this piece represents a single journey to the center of a galaxy. It begins with sparkling notes (different octaves of A) that represent distant stars. Then, a forceful burst of energy pushes an imagined spacecraft out into deep space and a journey begins. At first, the journey is quiet, but soon various large formations come into focus. Some are dark and mysterious, some are glowing clouds of dust and rock, while others are intensely bright clusters of stars. At one point, there are only two quiet stars gently circling each other in a graceful gravitational ballet.

Throughout this piece, the music continually approaches the note A (the stars’ note) but an A tonality is never actually established. This effect is created by a repeating series of pitches whose final note is A. Each time A appears it is harmonized differently, but never with the notes A-C-E. Like several spinning galaxies of stars, this pitch series also contains several smaller pitch sets that cycle and recycle throughout the composition. Eventually, it seems as if we enter a large spinning galaxy and head for the white hot center where millions of stars all converge into a single ball of light. Here, an actual A chord does appear and it seems we have finally come face to face with stars. Upon arriving, however, the immense gravity of the galaxy’s center pulls everything downward through the stars and into a massive black hole. There, the journey is abruptly finished. After the travelers disappear, all that remains is the twinkling A of distant stars in a seemingly quiet, stable and endless universe.

 

(duration ca. 9 minutes)
Stellar Convergence may be played separately, or as part of the
Symphony Stellar Convergence