Vesica Piscis

Instrumentation 22 strings 6/6/4/4/2

Timing 15′

Composed 2003

Commissioned by CBC Radio Music for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra

World Premiere December 3, 2003, Westminster United Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Manitoba Chamber Orchestra; Roy Goodman, conductor

Performances by Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony

Programme Notes

The vesica piscis (rhymes with “Jessica Crisis”) is a figure found in Sacred Geometry. It is formed by two identical circles which are overlapped so that the circumference of each one touches the centre of the other. The almond-shaped intersection is the vesica. Examples of it abound in art and architecture, especially in garden designs, mosaics, and religious imagery. The vesica piscis is thought to symbolise the idea of “seeing eye-to-eye,” the intersection that represents the mutual understanding of two equal individuals.

It is this idea of balance, symmetry, and common ground that inspired my musical imagination. The shape and curve of the circles, and the spaces within them, are represented sonically through register, density and pitch reflections, and visually through the “choreography” of movement which expands and contracts across the ensemble. The central section of the piece, the vesica itself, becomes more intimate through the use of four soloists, while the accompanying players rearticulate the outline. The second circle is not a mere duplication of the first, however — these two equal individuals bring unique perspectives to the shared musical ideas. As the piece draws to a close, we realise that we began at the end, as the opening measures are heard again, and the eternal cycle continues.

PDF score excerpts

Vesica excerpt1   Vesica excerpt2   Vesica excerpt3

Audio excerpts

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