An Unaware Cosmos
BY JOSEPH KLEIN
JOSEPH KLEIN is a composer of solo, chamber, and large ensemble works, including instrumental, vocal, electroacoustic, and intermedia compositions. His music reflects an ongoing interest in processes inspired by natural phenomena (e.g., fractal geometry, chaos, and systems theory), frequently incorporating theatrical elements as part of the musical narrative. Klein holds degrees in composition from Indiana University, University of California, San Diego, and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and his composition teachers have included Harvey Sollberger, Claude Baker, Robert Erickson, and Roger Reynolds. He is currently Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of North Texas College of Music, where he has served as Chair of Composition Studies since 1999. Learn more here.
“An Unaware Cosmos” is a modular cycle of works for mixed chamber ensembles, composed partly as a response to the preponderance of works that extol the pervasive mythologies of our present culture, and is intended as an homage to reason and rational thought—and to those freethinkers who have devoted their lives to such noble pursuits. The entire cycle will eventually comprise two dozen individual modules for various combinations of instruments; the mutable arrangement of these modules is intended to explore a variety of relationships—timbral, spatial, conceptual, structural—both within and between modules. In the unfolding of this work, music from these various modules is fragmented, dislocated, suspended, disrupted, and penetrated, often in unpredictable ways. This particular realization includes five of the completed modules in the cycle: “Transient Dominion” (after Stephen Jay Gould) for trumpet, bass trombone, piano, and percussion; “The Indelible Stamp of Our Lowly Origin” (after Charles Darwin) for four contrabasses; “Shadows on the Horizon” (after Thomas Paine) for string quartet; “Unweaving a Rainbow” (after Isaac Newton) for viola and piano; and “Blind Watchmaker” (after Richard Dawkins) for contrabassoon and two percussion.