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Rolf Wallin

Publisher: Chester Music

Manyworlds (2010)
Commissioned by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover.
Chester Music Ltd
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
30 Minutes
Programme Note
Rolf Wallin Manyworlds (2010)
for large orchestra

Modern physics makes the most spectacular conceptions of religious mysticism appear oddly sober and down-to-earth. This is particularly true of the so-called string and membrane theories, in which the universe is described as a continuous web of vibrations, where energy and matter (included ourselves...) are illusions created by the frequencies of vibrating "strings" or multidimensional "membranes".

Analogies to music are abundant in quantum physics, and as a composer I have always thought of music as a universe in which amazing multidimensional and multicoloured sculptures can be created. In my works I have tried to create a few of the infinite possibilities.

This total liberty is wonderful, but it causes also a constant dilemma: What makes one artistic decision better than another? Where does the music go from where it is right now? This is something that comes to mind when I try to get my head around the mind-boggling Many-world theory. It deals with a very large, perhaps infinite number of universes; and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but didn't, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes. So there is a universe in which Columbus did not reach America, one where the entire Milky Way is nonexistent, etc. etc.

Of course it is impossible to describe this in a piece for orchestra. But in Manyworlds I deal with many "parallel musics" where every music contains the seed of all the other musics. We can therefore travel from one music to another within a fraction of a second, and one musical situation can have one outcome one time, and later a totally different one.
Hmm. Sounds like the description of a symphony? Well, maybe composers and quantum physicists are more similar than we think?

© Rolf Wallin 2010

This work can also be accompanied by a 3D film. For full information on the technical rider for this version, please click here

Manyworlds 3D – demo excerpts from Rolf Wallin on Vimeo.

Score preview:

  • Ensemble
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
    Hakan Hardenberger, trumpet
    John Storgårds
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