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The Big Rip (A Science Fiction Cantata) (2009)

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Instrumentation: Saxophone Quartet (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone), and Vocal Ensemble (soprano, countertenor, tenor, baritone, and bass)
Duration: 20’
Commission: Commissioned by the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung for the Niedersächsische Musiktage
Notes:The Big Rip uses the basic theme of “Night,” the theme of the 2009 Niedersächsische Musiktage, as its core idea. Instead of night as we experience it at the end of each day, I decided to use the concept of “Dark Energy,” the theory of the expansion of the universe that will ultimately rip our galaxy completely apart, the “ultimate night,” as the metaphorical starting point.  Texts are excerpted from Paul Celan’s poem “Engführung,” a science book called The Runaway Universe by Don Goldsmith, a science fiction short story entitled “Last Contact” by Stephen Baxter, Isaiah capter 51 verse 6, and an internet chat room conversation about the 2009 global economic situation
Reviews: Read
Recordings: New World Records 80736-2, Rascher Saxophone Quartet, Calmus Ensemble
Availability: Plurabelle Music Publishing (Distributed by Subito Music Corp.)
World Premiere: September 10, 2009, Rascher Saxophone Quartet and the Calmus Ensemble of Leipzig, The Niedersächsische Musiktage (Lower Saxony Music Festival), Hameln, Germany
Notable Performances:
October 25, 2009, Rascher Saxophone Quartet and the Calmus Ensemble of Leipzig, Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany