EULER'S MUSIC

Year: 2015

Duration: Approx. 4’30”

Instrumentation: 1[/alto]111/1111/1/hp/11111

Commissioned by The West Australian Symphony Orchestra as part of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra Composition Project.

PERFORMANCES/READINGS

*WORLD PREMIERE June, 2015 by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra Education Chamber Ensemble for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra Composition Project Concert, Perth, Western Australia.

*Workshopped May, 2015 by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra Education Chamber Ensemble for private masterclass with Mark-Anthony Turnage, ABC 720 Studios, Perth, Western Australia.

PROGRAM NOTES

“Euler’s Music” is a work deeply indebted to Euler’s Disk (a scientific educational toy first developed by Leonhard Euler to illustrate the motion of spinning disk on a flat surface), coupled with my own curiosity of the mechanics of gyroscopes born during my undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering. Given an impulse of energy, the disk spins, the axis of rotation continually shifts, and the disk gradually loses energy. What is interesting and grounds for musical exploration is the interplay of energy within the rotations of the disk. As rotation in one direction slows, rotation in another direction accelerates, and despite losing energy, the motion of the disk increases exponentially before imploding dramatically to a sudden halt.

I define the disk’s three axes of rotation (X, Y, Z) as three distinct pitch sets created from the division of the chromatic scale ( C, Db, Ab, Eb | D, F#, A#, B | E F G A). Each of these sets can be heard interacting, competing and eventually melding as they react to the initial impulse of energy. Euler’s Music utilises the serialisation of pitch sets, polyrhythms, dynamics and register (albeit with varying degrees of flexibility), using the exploration of the laws of physical motion that govern the mechanical phenomena of Euler’s Disk as a means to achieve musical structure. Is this logic transmutable, and if so, could physical mechanics be a new source of musical structure?

“You don’t have to know anything about Euler’s Disk to derive pleasure from this imaginatively constructed little work…”


Neville Cohn |
The West Australian
Wednesday, 24 June 2015

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“Budding composers win rare chance to work with West Australian Symphony Orchestra”

Laura Gartry | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Monday, 22 June 2015

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WEST AUSTRALIAN
SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
COMPOSITION PROJECT

I am very grateful to have participated in the West Australian Symphony Orchestra Composition Project throughout the first half of 2015, during which Euler’s Music was written. I was fortunate to receive instruction and mentorship from James Ledger throughout the process of completing the work as well as the opportunity to workshop the piece with the musicians of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra Educational Chamber Ensemble.

As part of the project, the piece was performed during its development at ABC Studios Perth for a masterclass with English composer Mark-Anthony Turnage in May 2015, and again at its premiere on July 22, 2015 at the John Inverarity Music & Drama Centre.

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