Eclipse (1986)

Duration – 20”
Recording – 2 channel version

I have always been be drawn towards large-scale forms and symphonic textures, even while most of my work has been completely for computer-realized sound or for soloists with live or recorded computer-realized sound parts. Eclipse, composed in 1985-1986, is one of my most overtly “orchestral” works composed using sound materials that are completely synthetic (so much computer music these days is based on recorded sound that this my be worth mentioning). Eclipse, composed while I was a doctoral student at Stanford, is the first piece for which I used a certain algorithmic canonic process that I developed to generate the events (notes) to be “played” on the synthetic “instruments.” It’s a technique I used in a number of subsequent pieces. Eclipse was composed at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University during 1985-1986 using the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Language (SAIL) with the Samson Box and a Foonly Computer (both hand-wired computers, among the first specialized systems for real-time digital signal processing) and the PLA language, an early algorithmic composition programming environment. At that time, multi-channel works had to be recorded on analog tape. That combined with other “issues” of computer music technology from that time give this work a somewhat dated sound and it’s not one of my works that I have kept in wide concert circulation although a stereo version does was released on a commercial CD in 1989. The multi-channel version has not been played since the late 80s.