• for carillon

  • Duration: 11' 11"
  • In one movement
  • Composed in 2021
  • First performance: 02.08.23 Luc Rombouts St Germanus Chruch, Tienen, Belgium
Programme notes:

Just as bold seafarers ventured out to circumnavigate our blue planet in the XVIth c., daring space exploration is the dream of our times. The Matthias Vanden Gheyn contest for carillon composition combines science, new music, composition, bells and heritage, all in which I take a lively interest:

- Science, because science connects all of us at the conscious factual level. Until disproven, a fact is a fact.

- Music, because music connects us at the unconscious level.

- New music, because any art form without new artwork and a young audience is doomed.

- Composition, because of the hard fought privilege to construct and inhabit your own world.

- Bells because their acoustic properties are astoundingly complex regardless of their cultural context. Bells superbly ignore staccato, the ultimate reduction of the infinite legato.

- Heritage, because I do not own anything. I receive from previous generations and I pass on to the next generations.

One hears that what one wants to hear. One hears that what one can hear. High up in his tower, the carillonneur plays for the whole town. The carillon’s sonic lace shields the town. The carillonneur rhapsodizes for the astronaut racing towards Mars, hence the rhapsodic subtitle of this piece. The title ΄ΑΠΕΙΡΟΝ (pronounce Apeiron, from - a- = without and πεῖραρ peirar = limit) refers to the unlimited, the indeterminate, i.e. the primal principle of all matter already postulated by Anaximander of Miletus, Pre-Socratic philosopher of the VIth century BCE. My composition contains the same number of motives as the planets in our solar system. The piece starts and ends with the pitch that is the exact center of the carillon’s range. This central pitch represents Georges Lemaître’s primeval atom, the postulate he published in 1933. This central pitch disintegrates into clusters, as in Lemaître’s relativistic cosmology (his theory on the expansion of the universe published in 1927 and popularly referred to since the 50s by the misnomer, the Big Bang’s theory). Soon the clusters morph into a joyous dance like matter floating in space. The sonic anagram of the celebrated astrophysicist forms calls sent out over the city and metaphorically into outer space. I assigned pitches to the planetary-rotation periods of the Jovian planets to form a majestic bass line. At one single point, the music flow freezes into a grave reference to Lemaître’s second life calling, his staunch Christian faith. To him religion and science were peacefully compatible. quote the celebrated XVIIIth c. Flemish carillonneur and bell founder Matthias Vanden Gheyn. On his music, I applied rhythms derived from the planetary-rotation period of the four telluric planets. ΄ΑΠΕΙΡΟΝ ends in a celebratory, energetic and optimist mood, quoting the final line of Dante’s Inferno relevant in the current troubled times of pandemic: “and then we emerged to see the stars again”.

Composer, conductor in Singapore with specialty in fusion music

Copyright © Robert Casteels 2021. All rights reserved.