Eden: Out of Time and Out of Space

Chamber Concerto for Guitar and Ensemble

George Rochberg

Rental
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

In one of the dedicatory poems to his verse play ?The Shadowy Waters? (1906), William Butler Yeats asks:
?Is Eden far away??
Do our woods and winds
and verponds cover more
quiet woods,
More shining winds,
more star-glimmering
ponds?
Is Eden out of time
and out of space??

How do you answer such questions? We have only the vague elusive promptings of our own mysterious, troubled hearts to tell us that the Eden we long for is there, somewhere beyond the physical world which frames our existence, in another realm of different dimensions. And ? what is most painful to admit ? that it is closed to us in the form in which we live and breathe, even if at times we do have intimations?, Yeats is telling us that this paradise, this Eden we yearn for is here ? present even if invisible, palpable even if intangible.

In his Second Symphony, Mahler meets an angel who tells him he can?t get into heaven, he?s locked out. The news is shattering. What follows is an inconsolable sorrowing, the same sorrowing that comes when we wake to the realization that we too are locked out of Eden.

Eden is the heaven of our longing and desire for release from pain and suffering. Eden is the image in our restive minds that reflects the reconciled, resolved, quiescent state of soul we hunger for. But Eden eludes ?because it is not a place. It is a state of soul which answers none of the illusory, hampering conditions that shape and bind us to the real world of our bodies, our appetites, our passions, and our beliefs.

I have turned Yeats? question ?Is Eden out of time and out of space?? into its own answering. However near we may sense its presence at times, Eden remains unreachable, ungraspable, unknowable, unthinkable. It forever eludes us.

I wrote this music the way I did to shut out ?with quietness and otherworldliness ? the clamor and clang of the raucous ?Garish Day,? to turn away its tumult and noise, to negate its stridency and chaos. Perhaps in the cleansing stillness and blessing of this emptied-out state of soul, Eden, through still hidden, may not be so far way; though still unreachable, may be close enough almost to touch.

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Scores & Parts

Chamber Symphony - Full Score - Large

Additional Information

Composition Date 1998
Duration 00:20:00
Orchestration Solo Gtr.; Fl. Cl. Hn. Vln. Vla. Vcl.
Premiere July 2, 1998 - Portland, OR Eliot Fisk, Guitar, members Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

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