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MENSIS EXOLVUNTUR MUNDANA (2016) - site specific composition for 12-channel live electronics, soprano, baritone, trumpet, and F horn

Premiere: October 4th, 2016, James Turrell Skyspace Twilight Epiphany, Rice University, Houston, TX.


Duration:  ca. 8 minutes


Program Notes:


Mensis Exolvuntur Mundana was composed for the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace at Rice University and has particular specifications related to the space. The piece creates an imaginary, accelerated version of a year and 24 hours in one piece, reflected by the musical material and the light show at the Skyspace. The piece tracks the year on a timeline, and during the piece, a metaphorical day and night elapse, starting in the middle of the night, reaching the middle of the day in the middle of the piece, and finishing at midnight. Rhythmic and textural shifts and sound sources in the music correspond to the change of color in the lights (dark to light and back). These changes match the relative time of day and year as reflected in the piece. 

The sound sources come from local recorded sounds around the Skyspace and Rice campus during different times of day and night, from dogs barking to rain to trucks backing up. The text is drawn from several fragments from poetry across the ages and from a variety of cultures about the moon and the sun, interspersed with Hopi rain chants. These text recitations occur at key points in the piece relative to the points in the year of the vernal and autumnal equinox and the solstices. The piece eclipses the spiritual and the mundane aspects of life around the Skyspace, as well as micro and macro conceptions of time (the piece, 24 hours, and a full year).

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