Although this electroacoustic piece lasts for c.11.5 minutes, symbolically, it lasts for nearly an eternity. The composition is framed between a representation of the beginning of time and the actual present.
Chronos starts with an anticipation that resolves into the cosmic explosion which marks the beginning of time. The composition then exposes the main symbolic carrier of time, the clock, which appears in many forms and takes up numerous disguises. It measures time in various speeds, accelerates and decelerates time, and forms rhythmic fragments and varied textures.
Chronos allows for two possible versions. In live performances (where circumstances permit) it uses stereo electroacoustic sound, a separate channel dedicated to the recorded sound of a clock, and a clock physically present on stage. In the latter situation, the ending of the piece symbolises a transition to the present, the awaking of the listener and that of the composition itself into the reality of the present moment and the actual flow of time. Without the clock on stage, the piece acquires a different ending, fading out with a distant rumble to leave the listener at the mercy of time in daily life.
Chronos led to a comprehensive analysis of temporal operations, particularly to the investigation of discretisation of time and superimposition of timescales in various orders. In Chronos, there is an order according to which the higher-order temporal organisations function as metastructures, providing rules which establish changing relationships among lower-order organisations.
The image above shows a schematic representation of temporal structures in three orders. The first-order organisation represents a combination of discrete and continuous temporal structures. The second order comprises two instances of swelling dynamics that act upon part of the lower-order organisation. The third order (acceleration) acts on part of the second-, and part of the first-order organisations. On the practical level, this has been achieved by applying processing in layers one on top of another, each time choosing the appropriate sections to process.
The image at the side shows the position that the clock needs to have on stage, in the three-channel version of the piece.
Aki Pasoulas was selected for the Composer Shortlist by the SAM organisation (former SPNM), for the acousmatic version of Chronos. The composition was selected for the Primacy of the Ear concerts (2008) at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada, and for the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC 2012), Institute for Sonic Arts Research (IRZU) in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Chronos has also been performed in London and Vienna.
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