Music Musicology Poetry Gallery

Being and Nothingness
Medford Series
2009; 47:40 min.


Being and Nothingness is in four movements, each of them standing on its own as a composition [ 13:00 ; 11:34 ; 10:10 ; 12:56 min.] The piece is named after Sartre's exposé of the foundations of existentialism in which Being (être-en-soi) stands against Consciousness (être-pour-soi), the source of Nothingness in the world that opposes the unending and overwhelming odds by which Being challenges the mind to overcome all obstacles. The meaning of the title in English is thus something like "Against Overwhelming Odds".

What I like about this piece is its physicality, the fact that it does not strive to be beautiful but rather is stark. This starkness is expressed through density, minimal "orchestration virtuelle" establishing backgrounds. Melodic elements, where they appear, represent Nothingness negating the odds presented to consciousness by Being. Nothingness is experienced as irrepressible, and provokes the mind's ability to realize its own identity against all odds. I also like it that the piece climaxes in the third movement, both in terms of density and allure (gesture), and that it comes to some kind of rest only at the end of the 4 th movement. It does not have the playfulness and gracefulness of earlier pieces of mine.

Technically, the piece is based on computer-generated scores produced by Project One and Cmask and sounded through the Capybara sound engine. It uses a large variety of different scores which, in turn, deliver an even larger variety of mixtures of different degrees of opaqueness and transparency. I am amazed that the mind can keep so large a repertory of sounds in equilibrium by following the mandates of musical form over a period of almost 3 years.