Terra Infirma (1992)

Duration – 17’50”

Terra Infirma, for computer-realized sound is one of a cycle of pieces, some based on specific texts or “programs,” others more “abstract”, that express a rather dark view of life on our planet. Terra Infirma, which was completed in 1992, has no specific program other than what the title might evoke, but sets the scene, as it were, for the other works in the cycle: Il Nome (1987) for soprano and computer-realized sound, The Silence of Time(1993) for percussion ensemble and computer-realized sound, Pericolose, un giorno, bellezze(2000) for soprano, choir, and computer-realized sound, and Life Study #3 (1995) and Camera Cantorum (2000) both for computer-realized sound. The musical quotation that emerges from and recedes back into a din of sound in Terra Infirma is from Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen fromSchumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe and those who know that piece will also recognize the use of the ending which Mahler also used as did Berio.

Terra Infirma was realized on a NeXT Computer in 1991-1992. All of the sound materials were derived in some way from acoustic sources and most are “hybrids” in that they fuse together sampled recorded sound with purely synthetic material using digital signal processing techniques and event-processing algorithms I designed and wrote in Csound and Common Lisp.