Performed by S.E.M. Ensemble
Conductor: Petr Kotik

Excerpt from press release

Elodie Lauten's Symphony 2001 was commissioned by the Bozeman Symphony Society in celebration of the millennium. The concept behind the work is: once the crucial moment has passed and everyone is still alive, it is wonderful to see the sun rise again. The light of the sun... the continuation of life. On the other hand, the occurrence of the millennium is surrounded with fears, superstitions, prophecies, hopes for better times to come - or the apocalypse? Symphony 2001 relates to both aspects: the celebration of the light (macro-structure - general succession of movements) the emotions (micro-structures within each movement).

Symphony 2001 could be nicknamed Rainbow Symphony as the seven successive ascending tonal centers are correlated to the light spectrum. There is a fairly close mathematical correspondence between the frequency of each pure color of the spectrum and certain musical frequencies. Thus the idea of setting each movement to a color of the rainbow and corresponding tonal center. The tonal structure of Symphony 2001 follows this hierarchy: there are seven movements to match the seven colors of the rainbow. The tonal center for the first movement is G-violet (405 Hz/396 Angström), the second movement A-indigo (433 Hz/440 Angström), the third movement B-blue (473 Hz/495 Angström), the fourth movement C-green (527 Hz/528 Angström), the fifth movement D-yellow (580 Hz/594 Angström), the sixth movement E-orange(597 Hz/660 Angström) and the seventh movement F-red (700 Hz/704 Angström). Within each tonal center, there are modulations where other elements relating to the emotional aspects of the millennium come into play.

The general structure is ascending, corresponding to the sunlight/sunrise theme, and within the movements, there are recurrent ascending structures. The first movement, Sundance, starts with an ancient celebrational Sioux song, and continues with a raga - sun meets moon, West meet East. The second movement, The Fairy Bells, is also celebrational in its mood with thick percussion textures. The third movement, Incantation, is about the magic and superstitions surrounding the millennium. The fourth movement presents the character of Nostradamus and his predictions of doom in a light and playful manner. The fifth movement, The Golden Age of Universal Peace, about the prediction about a wonderful age to come, is a rhythmic orchestral groove. The sixth movement, or The Eternal Return, explores the idea of universal time with a cyclic, chromatic part on the vibraphone against the rest of the orchestra, continued in the seventh movement, The Wheel of Time - a concept familiar to Buddhists. In Symphony 2001, composer's concern is to create music that is in sync with universal forces and cycles, in this particular case, the light spectrum; and to invite performers and audience alike to join in a new experience as to the potentially uplifting effect of Symphony 2001.


Example of a 7-tier hierarchy: the Rainbow Matrix
from Symphony 2001



Correspondence between color vibration and pitch


The Rainbow Matrix
Each of the 7 movements of Symphony 2001 corresponds to a color:
violet (G), indigo (A), blue (B), green (C), yellow (D), orange (E), red (F)