• Jonathan Harvey
  • Quantumplation (1973)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by David Hellewell for the Apollo Ensemble with funds from the Southern Arts Association

  • fl.cltampfvn.vc
  • 8 min

Programme Note

The title describes the inspirational source of the musical idea, namely a contemplation of the way sub-atomic particles behave as described in quantum theory. They move around the massive nucleus in orbits of different frequency, sometimes jumping orbits with a consequent release or increase of energy. Thirteen tempi are used by the five instrumentalists for their possible orbits round the tam-tam 'nucleus'; the instruments jump from one orbit to another, constantly transforming melody into harmony and vice versa as they go, forming a dense and intractable sonic image of the most fundamental ingredient of the universe, the atom. Just as the atom moves in physical space, so does this musical atom move through musical 'spaces' which alter its possible harmony.

© Jonathan Harvey