Eric Skytterholm Egan | the pause and not...

(2011) | Full Score

List of Works


Richard Casey

The initial idea for the pause and not... came from the following sentences in Italo Calvino's Mr Palomar:

And what if it is in the pause... that the meaning of the message is contained...
A silence, apparently the same as another silence, could express a hundred different notions...

Like most of the pieces I have written since 2009 the pause and not... is based on a relatively small amount of material, in this case the first 24 bars of music. These bars are revisited nine times back to back, and this constitutes the piece in its entirety. In the central seven sections, the material is gradually expanded, allowing it to gradually increase in animosity and complexity.

As the piece gathers in intensity, the pauses from the exposition are filled in, creating a constantly changing, yet simultaneously repetitive musical landscape. When we return to the undressed material near the end, the silences reappear. However, the entries of the original material have remained in the same place throughout - in a sense they are the vehicle through which the "meaning of the message" has been delivered. In fact, it might be said that this material actually constitutes the "meaning" - the more complex material being just one of "a hundred different" ways by which the music could have been filled in.


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