PRISMA

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Instrumentation: orchestra
(flute, alto flute, oboe, cor anglais, clarinet in eb, clarinet in a, bassoon, contra-bassoon
2 horns in f, piccolo trumpet in a or d, trumpet in bb, alto, tenor and bass trombone
violins 1/I–1/III, violins 2/I–2/III, viola I–II, cello I–II, double bass I–II)
Duration: 8 minutes
First performance: SNOA, 28th april 2012, Göteborg

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Recording with the Swedish National Orchestra Academy:

White light is composed of the continuous spectrum of all frequencies of visible light. To make this visible a prism is used in which the different wave lengths are refracted and thus all colours appear next to each other as in a rainbow.

Just as white light is made up of the continuous spectrum of all visible light, white noise is a continuous spectrum of (all audible) sound. But music consists not only of pitch, other parameters – such as rhythm, timbre, dynamics – are just as important for the musical result. Applying a prism in a musical context must therefore result in much more than just a glissando over the whole ambitus of the sound.

The initiation of PRISMA is white noise: A chromatic total through all registers of the orchestral instruments with every instrument individually repeating a small number of pitches at a different tempo. But what lies behind this energetic noise, which musical possibilities can be found in this undirected energy?

In several filtering processes different aspects of the initial sound like rhythm, timbre and melody are examined and developed. Coming from the original, chaotic noise, different stages of noise and clarity are discovered, displayed and combined.

This filtering process however overstrains the system. The filters begin to leak; holes, scratches and tears appear. Sounds that should have been erased by the filters get through the system and a background noise emerges which over time evolves and becomes more and more present. Simultaneously the filtering processes that happen in the foreground become unstable, disappear into the background noise which now has become the main focus, a new filter has emerged through the leaks that appeared in the system.