Instrumentation: Electronic playback
Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University,
Palo Alto, CA
Hosech Al P’ney HaTehom (Darkness Upon the Face of the Deep) is about a world being born: out of the subterranean darkness, sonic lightning; out of chaos, life. It is also about a new world of sound being born; not the music of traditional instruments or representations of them, but a music constructed from fundamental building blocks of sound. Here, music becomes architecture. Music also becomes unfamiliar; timbres shiver and break apart, zoom, coalesce, become animate. Boundaries disappear, space seems elastic. This piece does not use any “real-world” sounds. Rather, it uses digitally-constructed sound to lure us into a new musical realm. There are three sections. In the first, the sounds of the void reach up to become pitch. In the second, sonic lightning sets off a wild storm, with volcanic action spawning the animate. In the third, the primordial quality of the first is recaptured, though there are remnants of the second.
Hosech Al P’ney HaTehom was composed at Stanford University’s CCRMA while Judith Shatin was a guest composer during 1989-90. It was the last piece composed using the digital synthesizer with the nickname ‘Sambox.’ It has been performed in multiple venues, including the 70th-anniversary program in the Rotunda of the National Gallery West Wing in Washington D.C.