The Eternal Return (2015) 9 min.
*World premiere performed by Drexel University Concert Band
Directed by Dr. Wesley Broadnax
June 7, 2015 Mandell Theater, Philadelphia, PA
Filmed by Herb Adis. Edited by Nick Vasallo.
Audio recorded by Sleepless Sound. Mixed and mastered by Nick Vasallo.
Composed from December 16, 2014 to January 10, 2015. The Eternal Return is basically the theory that there is infinite time and a finite number of events, and eventually the events will recur again and again infinitely. Consider the world as a super-complex chess game. If games of chess are played one after another forever, eventually a game will be repeated since there is only a finite number of possible games. It is the same with the world; eventually events will recur in the same order. The world is an eternal process of coming to be and passing away. The process, however, has no beginning or end. Eventually every combination of matter and energy will be realized and repeated an infinite number of times.
The structure of this work is based on the cycles of The Great Year. A term that ancient civilizations use to describe the slow precession of the equinox, a period that takes about 24,000 years. Different cultures refer to this cycle by different names, but one thing is clear, it was known to virtually every ancient culture throughout the globe. As humanity’s consciousness expands and contracts, and the cycle plays out, just like a solar year with its seasons, it results in great ages of enlightenment and dark ages of misery. Indeed, the archaeological record shows a broad decline of ancient civilizations beginning about 5000 years ago, a long worldwide dark age and then finally a rise in consciousness with the renaissance continuing to the present day.
Musically, the different ages are structured using duration in relationship to their actual lengths of time. They form a palindromic cycle: Iron Age, Bronze Age, Silver Age, Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age. Each age has a different musical focus, texture, and sound world depicting their respective Greek mythological descriptions. The piece could repeat forever as the end connects to the beginning.