John Luther Adams' The Immeasurable Space Of Tones for Violin, Vibraphone, Piano, sustaining Keyboard and Contrabass. Duration: 30 minutes.
'Number 5, 1950 was Mark Rothko's last painting before the breakthrough into his mature format. In it the luminous color fields of a classic Rothko are inscribed across the middle with three delicate lines.
Describing this painting and its pivotal position in Rothko's work, Brian O'Doherty observes: "After this, the lines disappear completely."
In recent years gesture and figuration have disappeared from my music. What used to be background has emerged to become a musical world composed entirely of floating color fields.
In this new world I've changed media, moving from the orchestra to smaller combinations of acoustical instruments and electronically-processed sounds. I still think in orchestral terms, but this hybrid medium allows me to create orchestral textures for more practical and readily available ensembles.
Initially I imagined this as a kind of monolithic music -an entire piece as one rich and complex sound. Then I came to hear it as homophonic or heterophonic. And now -in this musical world that I thought was completely free of lines -I've come to hear a polyphony of harmonic clouds.
Maybe the lines never disappear completely. Maybe Christian Wolff was right when he quipped: "No matter what we do, sooner or later it all sounds melodic".' - John Luther Adams