I hope your summer has been and continues to be beautiful.
Due to some creative and conceptual setbacks, I've set the viola concerto aside for the time being. I think I might have written myself into a hole, and I need to give my subconscious some time to work out how to write myself out of it. In the meantime, I've been working on several new projects, including one for violin and cello entitled "Orbits."
As the majority of you know, I'm obsessed with astronomy and astrophysics, and have written many pieces dealing with the beauty that is produced by various harsh scientific processes - nuclear fusion, gravity's rainbow, the pale blue dot picture, clusters & superclusters, and more. This new piece is, as the title indicates, explores several different types of orbits. Everything in the universe is moving, and almost everything is moving in relation to something else. While there is much (alleged) dark matter, many hundreds of millions of rogue planets & other untethered bodies and materials, in general, everything revolves around something else. Locally, our own moon revolves around the earth, which revolves around the sun, which revolves around the galactic center, which is moving toward the so-called Great Attractor in the center of Laniakea. Outside of our solar system, stars orbit each other, entire systems of moons orbit planets, clouds and belts of smaller objects surround stars, black holes orbit each other and even collide, and...and...and... The variations are infinite, and, much like the exoplanet discoveries, astronomers are continuously finding new ways things spin around each other.
As I settle into New York and am surrounded by all the humans at all hours, I begin to realize how much we "orbit" each other. We build systems around ourselves and interact in many different types of revolutions; I started extrapolating this metaphor to friends & folks I knew, and realized that every orbit I researched had a human parallel - the orbits of comets, for example, are generally elongated, coming very close to the sun for short-yet-intense periods of time only to spend many years away. We all have (that one or two) friend(s) who are mum for extended periods of time only to reach out for short bursts of intense communication and life-involvement, then are dormant for another long spell.
The piece explores 5 different types of these orbits: rogue planets (no orbit), comets (described above), stable systems (like the earth around the sun), collision courses, (kaboom), and escape velocities (where the two bodies separate and go on their way). Each has a parallel to human relationships. And, as each orbit is driven by gravity, it begs the question: what is "attractive" about humans? Why do people seem to have higher "gravity" than others?
As an aside, there is a surprise element to this piece. I'll keep you all posted as to when it will be performed, and you'll just have to come see it. ;)