chamber orchestra (15 musicians)

A singularity may be understood to be a point at which, say in the world of mathematics, an equation or a surface, etc., explodes and becomes degenerate, a technical term signifying a limiting case whereby an object transforms to become something simpler yet more complex. Just as a point is a degenerate case of a circle whose radius approaches 0, one can imagine a circle as a degenerate form of an ellipse where its eccentricity moves toward 0. In astrophysics, black holes lead to singularities.

A revolutionary view drawn from the world of computer science today maintains that a technological singularity will occur at a point in time (some say as early as the year 2030) where the pace of technological change is so accelerated, its impact so profound, that human life — human time — will be transformed irreversibly. Computers, it is conjectured, will be able to check and rewrite their own programming. The implications for culture and for technology itself will be paradoxically immeasurable and beyond comprehension. The Death of Time? Perhaps. Even so, this view signals a new life for eschatology.

Remarkable “timekeeper” that he was, György Ligeti (1923-2006) distinguished himself by the care he brought in his music to the domain of time. Throughout his career, this singular composer was involved in a rather unique proliferation-in-sound of concepts such as mechanical duration, thought-out duration, time stretching, striated or grooved time, continuous or smooth time, empirical or experiential time, and so forth.

Commissioned by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and dedicated to its artistic director, Lorrraine Vaillancourt, Singulari — T pays homage to György Ligeti, expert geometer of sonic realms and resounding time.


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