Cosmic Fire (1995) — Robert Scott Thompson — Electroacoustic Music

...a particularly prolific and creative period...

Cosmic Fire is a collection of electroacoustic works by Robert Scott Thompson composed during a particularly prolific and creative period in the mid-1990’s. The earliest of these compositions is RuST, an award-winning composition composed in 1994. During this period his work was characterized by the full engagement of the software synthesis program Csound, together with software of his own design for algorithmic composition of texture and gesture. Having worked with cmusic, and related systems, from 1981 up until the early 1990’s the possibilities afforded by Csound greatly expanded his language in computer music.

Program Note

The first three works on the disc comprise the suite Cosmic Fire – a set of related compositions of which RuST is the final movement. All three movements, Earthquake Weather, Sotto-Clari-Voce and RuST, share primary materials in various recastings and perspectives.

Equinox, Neovox and Ecovox, while not set as a formal suite, are also related in terms of materials, gestures and processes. These were composed in 1994-5 as short essays in sound without the often weighty considerations required of longer, developmental works.

Gwyddon, composed in 1995, is the longest single work presented here and is, in some ways, the most complex of the group. The following two works, Inner Voices and Hylozoism, feature materials developed for the composition of Gwyddon in different contexts.

Ray Science, also from 1995, is developed exclusively using the phase vocoder, rather than direct synthesis. The structures are created exclusively from time-scale expansions of various closely related sound materials.

The final three works of the disc are newly grouped into the suite Three for J.C., in honor of John Cage and specifically for this recording. The earliest of these compositions is Acoustic Food for Man, a short musical essay created for a web page created in memoriam in 1992. Homage (Dear John,…) was composed in 1994 featuring birds and processed chant melodies. The final work, The Roaring Silence, was composed for a lecture on RST’s musical techniques given in 2000. It features a version of 4’33” as the central section of the work, and the composition is in the same proportions as the original Cage work. Each of these compositions features the voice of Cage algorithmically edited, designed and recast. 


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