Suite cosmique I (Cosmic Suite I)
From 2004 to 2006, I was the project manager of the Planck HFI Ground Segment, an astrophysics mission whose spectacular results have enriched our understanding of the Universe.
When, in 2012, I decided to interrupt my engineering career to devote myself to composing music, I did not lose interest in astrophysics: I soon decided I would compose music inspired by the Cosmos…
The first piece, Nova, was commissioned for an ad hoc ensemble including two flutes, a trumpet, a trombone, a piano, an electric guitar, and a bass guitar. I later arranged the piece for solo piano, added Milkomeda, Black Hole and Odysseus 2012, and named the set Cosmic Suite (Suite cosmique).
See Nova in Wikipedia:
A nova is a transient astronomical event that causes the sudden appearance of a bright, apparently “new” star, that slowly fades over several weeks or many months … are considered to be cataclysmic variable stars. Classical nova eruptions … are likely created in a close binary star system … When the orbital period falls in the range of several days to one day, the white dwarf is close enough to its companion star to start drawing accreted matter onto the surface of the white dwarf …and eventually reaches a critical temperature causing ignition of rapid runaway fusion … Recurrent nova processes are the same as the classical nova, except that the fusion ignition may be repetitive because the companion star can again feed the dense atmosphere of the white dwarf.
The beginning of the piece illustrates the rise in mass and temperature as the star draws matter from its companion and eventually erupts in a moment of fortissimo violence. The central section begins with a representation of interstellar void, followed by an atonal theme representing the flow of energy in the emptiness of space. There is then a tentative recurrence of the nova, but the companion star no longer has enough matter to enable the star to ignite a second time, and the piece ends pianissimo.
Milkomeda (Collision & Fusion)
See Milkomeda in Wikipedia:
The Andromeda–Milky Way collision is a galactic collision predicted to occur in about 4.5 billion years between … the Milky Way (which contains the Solar System and Earth) and the Andromeda Galaxy. The stars involved are sufficiently far apart that it is improbable that any of them will individually collide. Some stars will be ejected from the resulting galaxy, nicknamed Milkomeda.
The piece is partly based on the Kyrie of my µMesse. After a short introduction, the first voice is exposed, accompanied by arpeggios and chromatic scales, leading to the fortissimo cluster representing the collision. Afterwards, there is the fusion of the two voices of the Kyrie, and the piece ends in a minimal, pianissimo chord.
Black Hole (Absorbed Fragments)
See Black Hole in Wikipedia:
A black hole is a region of spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing – no particles or light – can escape from it. … The boundary of the region from which no escape is possible is called the event horizon … quantum field theory in curved spacetime predicts that event horizons emit Hawking radiation…
In the piece, glissandi as well as short fragments of the first two sections are played violently, only to be “absorbed” by the black hole. Hawking radiation is represented by the harmonic resonance of a cluster of sustained notes.
In 2012, the European Space Agency (ESA) organized an exciting national and international competition, known as “Odysseus”. School teams were to prepare and submit a project in one of three categories: Solar System, spaceship, and co-evolution of life.
The piece is a homage to the work of ESA. It represents the long journey of a spaceship, departing from Earth and travelling beyond the Solar System, throughout the galaxy, searching for extra-terrestrial life, and never to return to its home planet. The minimalistic accompaniment represents the emptiness of space, while the main voice alternates between a bold theme representing the exploration of space, and more melancholic one expressing the emptiness of space and the unknown future of the spacecraft.
Suite cosmique II (Cosmic Suite II)
The sequel to the Cosmic Suite was composed in 2015 for flute ensemble. It was later arranged for two pianos and other ensembles. An arrangement for flute and string trio has recently been recorded, and will be included in CD album TETH to appear in 2020.
This is a development of Nova – the atonal theme of the middle section is developed in a quadruple canon to the major-third.
La fin du temps (The End of Time)
Experiments in Quantum Gravity seem to show that the past can be changed by present or future actions; in quantum space, time may actually not even exist. This piece is a tribute to Olivier Messiaen and his Quartet for the End of Time. The piece begins with a slow section based on a melodic cell which is first exposed accompanied by slow chords and fast murmuring scales. The melodic cell is then repeated in different manners, separated by strong interjections: accelerated, altered, and finally accompanied by a fast canon.
This is an arrangement of the last piece of the first set, with no major alterations.