In the Beginning [Complete Series] (2012)

First ever release of all eight works in this major series of compositions from 1978-1981 with new recordings by extraordinary musicians; includes: In the Beginning I (Electronic) (1978), live performance with Buchla 300 Series Electric Music Box, IN the Beginning II (Song of Endless Light + Sextet (1979), trombone, percussion & 4 cellos, In the Beginning III (Quintet) (1979), woodwind quintet played by Midnight Winds, In the Beginning: Etude I (Trombones) (1979), 8 trombones played by Mike Svoboda, In the Beginning: Etude II (Keyboard-Plucked Strings) (1980), harp, Mexican and other plucked instruments and piano, In the Beginning: Etude III (Keyboard & 2 Oranges) (1980), In the Beginning IV (Electronic) (1980), live performance with Buchla 300 Series Electric Music Box and In the Beginning V (The Story) (1981) for chamber orchestra; package includes booklet with in-depth article about the music by composer, Chris Brown; "a journey in tuned clouds of sound" (DR); New World Records, #NW80735-2, New York, 2012, [2-CD set]

MUSICIANS: David Rosenboom, Buchla & Associates 300 Series Electric Music Box, piano, computer; Mike Svoboda, trombone; William Winant, percussion; Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick, Aniela Perry, Derek Stein and April Guthrie, cellos; Midnight Winds wind quintet; Jane Grothe, harp; Jerónimo Rajchenberg, requinto, charango, and coco banjo samples/Amy Tatum, flute; Claire Chenette, oboe; Andrew Leonard, clarinet; Briana Lehman, bassoon; Daniel Rosenboom, trumpet 1; Marissa Benedict, trumpet 2; Steven Suminsky, trombone; Doug Tornquist, tuba; Danny Holt, piano 1; Richard Valitutto, piano 2; Nicholas Terry, percussion 1; Matthew Cook, percussion 2; Andrew Tholl, violin; Mark Menzies, viola; Derek Stein, cello; Maggie Hasspacher, contrabass; David Rosenboom, conductor.


The macro-title, In the Beginning, refers to a series of works created from 1978 through 1981. These works were written for a variety of large and small instrumental ensembles, computer-aided electronic music instruments, film/video, and synthetic speech. The last of these is, in turn, also a series of pieces, titled, Future Travel, documented by an LP record (Street Records) and more recently a CD (New World Records) released under the same name. All of the works focus, among other things, on the development of a unique harmonic, rhythmic and melodic language. This language takes inspiration from research on a model of proportional structures in music and on an evolving, topologically modeled theory of musical “shape” perception. There is programmatic content in the works, which relates to human beings’ propensity to attempt to double themselves in both religion and technology and which develops a scenario for the evolution of human consciousness toward the birth of a macroscopic Earth-organism to which all individual entities contribute.
The IN THE BEGINNING system of proportions emphasizes sets of irreducible ratios with inversional symmetry and exploits both harmonic (linear) and sub-harmonic (non-linear) relations. These are used to construct cycles of growth and decay, resulting from the natural reinforcement of proportions with each other, moving toward maximum resonance and away from it. Thus, a sense of natural phasing occurs, though all movement takes place through proportional modulation by quantum steps. Additionally, stochastic methods are used to implement smooth transitions from areas where the probability is high that one or more sets of proportions will be predominant in the musical material to areas where others take over.
Many of the horizontal (ex. melodic) forms result from the use of a limited set of prototype shapes or contours. These are applied to the other musical materials (ex. pitch, rhythm, timbre) currently predominant in the space of proportions. Each section of music has its own unique shape determinants and modulation schemes. The contours themselves resulted from physiological analyses of human expressive gestures carried out in preparation for the works.
The compositions mirror nature in the creation of singularities, particles, or differentiated units of perception. They do this by making use of the idea of resonance as a key to creation within an initially smooth medium, like undifferentiated space or the undisturbed surface of a calm lake. Resonance represents the force of drawing together in patterned relationships, which outline natural ontological evolution. The harmonic and rhythmic space is the medium; the composer and performers provide the initiating force; the system of proportions articulates growth when interactions produce reinforcement and decay when they produce collisions.

Above: excerpt from score for In the Beginning: Etude III (Keyboard & 2 Oranges). Below: from recording sessions for In the Beginning V (The Story): 1) Matthew Cook, (left) & David Rosenboom (photo by Nicholas Terry), 2) Daniel Rosenboom (trumpet) & Doug Tornquist (tuba), 3) Amy Tatum (flute) & Jennifer Johnson (oboe) from Midnight Winds, and 4) Maciej Flis (bassoon), Allen Fogle (horn) & Andrew Leonard (clarinet) from Midnight Winds and Max Foreman (engineering assistant). [Click on photos to see full frame.]