The concept of folding light comes from some DNA analysing instrumentation I use as a microbiologist. The machine in question (known as the “light cycler”) requires use of specific wavelengths of light for excitation of fluorescent molecules, which in turn emit fluorescence at a different wavelength. Optimum excitation and emission-detection occurs when the light beams are set at a specific depth of field. However, this means the machine would be unfeasibly tall. The answer by the designers was to “fold the light” by use of a series of prisms. The beams now travel in several irregular spiral paths within the machine. I was inspired to apply this concept to this piece, in which a seemingly “long” structure (a three-movement concerto) is compressed in its real time-line, whereas the use of the “less-than-12-tone” row, the seemingly timeless stasis in the central slow section, and complicated tonal and rhythmic treatments throughout create a sense of a larger time-line of “light”. The musical material for Folding Light is an eight-note tone row. I have become more interested in the “less-than-12-tone” concept in recent years due to the implied tonality, accidental or otherwise, when creating even a small set of notes with as deliberately distant relationships as possible. From this row, along with some of the “standard serial treatments”, I created a row of five neutral chords. These form a very important progression used throughout the work. Finally, during the composition process, overriding intervals became apparent, namely the minor ninth and major seventh. If I can consider the octave as a pure uninterrupted beam of light, then the “prism” of the central slow section can be seen as an area of diffraction of the light.
|No. of Players:||12|
Instrumentation: Clarinet in Bb, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, French Horn, Tuba, Percussion [2 player(s)], Piano, Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass,