“Mozartiana” à la Rodriguez

W.A. Mozart
Musikalisches Würfelspiel K.516f

K.516f consists of a 16-bar minuet for keyboard with 11 harmonically interchangeable versions of each bar. To construct minuets, one rolls a pair of dice 16 times in order to determine which version of each bar to play. There are potentially 45,949,729,863,572,161 (45 quadrillion, 949 trillion, 729 billion, 863 million, 572 thousand, 161) minuets, which would take 100 billion years to perform.A roll of the dice. An infinitesimal array of permutations and combinations. This is the inspiration for Robert X. Rodriguez’s Musical Dice Game — his homage to Mozart’s 250th birthday — which premieres on 20 April with Andrew Litton and the Dallas Symphony. Commissioned by the Dallas Symphony, Rodriguez based his score on Mozart’s Musikalisches Würfelspiel (Musical Dice Game) K. 516. “Even though Mozart probably did not compose it,” Rodriguez opines, “we know that Mozart was fascinated by games and that he wrote down instructions for creating such a composition.” Mozart’s instructions to create quadrillions of minuets led the composer to consider the “staggering multiplicity of possibilities” involved in creating the game. Rodriguez notes, “I considered Pascal’s phrase, “Le silence éternal de ces espaces infinis m’effraie” (The eternal silence of the infinite spaces terrifies me.)... I set out to depict those quadrillions of minuets filling Pascal’s ‘eternal silence’... Einstein rejected Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle by saying that ‘God does not play dice with the universe.’ My Musical Dice Game depicts an ordered universe and an unpredictable one...”

Musical Dice Game 15'
2 str4t; 2 str orch

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