Lacunae – These Visions Will Destroy You

Composition: Bradley Scott Rosen
Performance: Ine Vanoeveren

Lacuna: “an intentional, extended passage in a musical work during which no notes are played. A lacuna acts as “negative music” to induce a state of serenity (or tension) in the listener, because of its contrast to ‘normal’ music, consisting of sounded notes. Though no notes are sounded during a lacuna, it is a purposeful musical passage used for a specific effect in the context of the overall work. Lacunae may be of any duration, as indicated by the composer.

What is the moment between life and death? Is death sudden? Is there a transition period between life, dying and death? In other words, is there a lacuna between life and death? And is that lacuna really silence?

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Concert on May 19th, 2014, Conrad Prebys Music Center, UCSD, La Jolla

The piece is a written scenario about a life-changing event, the loss of a friend. The text, written in Dutch, is a guidance through this event. Every emotion related to this specific moment, in the past as well as in the future, glues the text together.

Until suddenly there is nothing more to say, a gap between two emotions. A moment of reflection. But in this case there is no silence, there are flute sounds. Flute sounds related to the event. The silence of reflection makes place for the sound of reflection.

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Still from ‘Lacunae’

Lacunae explores the ‘gap in music’ by using music. Every box in the score is a lacuna in the natural course of the scenario, the text.
The sound of those lacunae is based on a simple lullaby, an e minor chord. That lullaby is never explicitly played, but serves as a guideline for the performer to find the necessary characteristic sounds. The whole atmosphere is intimate, but still very strong. So, the lullaby is translated in closed mouth breathing sounds, aiming for those specific e minor harmonics, but it never sounds weak. The corresponding sounds are a variation on both the harmonic structure and the intimate gesture.
The text for this composition is a original text, later translated into Dutch. It contains personal phrases as well as related poetry and prose, both from English and Dutch sources. The text is not a chronological narrative about the fact, but it ties loose ends of emotions together, related to the loss and death of this friend.
When one loses someone close, or has to deal with the destruction of a war, or needs to leave his roots behind…

Those are life-changing moments that leave emptiness in someone’s life.
But Lacunae: These Visions Will Destroy You doesn’t leave the emptiness in silence; it fills the space with sound.