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The Hands of Time

For thousands of years, mankind has sought ways to measure and master time. Since Antiquity observable natural phenomena such as the changing length and direction of shadows or the regular cycle of the moon have been used to measure the passage of time. Today time can be measured with the greatest accuracy and various devices make it more « tangible »

In music, the basic unit of time ? the beat ? conveys an almost palpable, physical energy, like the oscillations of the pendulum of a clock whose ticking puts an end to silence. In The Hands of Time, the organist?s hands recreate the delicate, constant movement of the hands of a clock and the subtle, perpetual dance of the heavenly bodies among the stars. This almost palpable connection is a preamble to the poetic dimension of the piece.

The piece moves along two main compositional ideas : a somber, swaying motif (meas. 16) and a strong and tragic, long drawn-out melody (meas. 92) based on four pitches, after the semiotic sqaure approach. These elements gradually develop into twelve repeated chords (meas. 304), a scarcely veiled evocation of the twelve-fold division of time. A long phrase follows, its serenity tinted with hope and resignation. It is heard again later, in a version stripped of all complexity, revealing the purity of the motif reduced to essential.

The piece can be seen as an exploratory journey through my own lights and shadows. The inexorable, yet captivating passage of time has colored my fantasy, influencing my reflection on energy and death, time and silence, time present and time past.

The piece ends (meas. 367-376) on a reminiscence of the beginning (meas. 1-13).