for orchestra, ewi and laptop
Four Dimensions is a seven-minute “concert of the future” merging orchestra with music synthesis. An EWI (electronic wind instrument) performs as a member of the orchestra. 72 pre-rendered, rich and detailed recordings (available in stereo and 5.1 surround) are performed using a laptop via a custom application that comes with the piece.
Divided into five sections, the program is meant to inspire insights into what dimensional space is. The inclusion of a visual element, like the brilliant real-time computer art which premiered with “Four Dimensions” in 2013, is not necessary, but recommended.
Four Dimensions with the Orlando Philharmonic under the baton of Dirk Meyer, Brian Smithers on the Akai EWI. Computer art by Nathan Selikoff
Other works were far more successful: A mashup of animated points, lines and planes — yes, geometry brought to life! — focused listeners more on “Four Dimensions,” a modernistic new work by Full Sail’s Keith Lay.
Matt J. Palm, The Orlando Sentinel
(The non-dimensional dimension)
A jubilant Eb major 13th +11 chord from the brass declares existence! The dual state of being and non-being: Sound/Silence; a single Point of Singularity; On/Off. The chord is traded by in the electronics, then woodwinds, then the strings over which the EWI appears with the central theme: The chord trades through the orchestra's sections, shortening in duration and rapidity to reach a Big Bang consisting of polar opposite major chords a tritone apart. These elements: the 'being' chord, the polytonal harmonic palette, and the trading of restatements between orchestra sections become the connecting tissue of the piece.
Brass and Timp bar 1
EWI states the Main Theme in bar 3 (8vb)
FIRST DIMENSION (LINES)
Singularities connect to form lines. A loud, electronic godzilla line emerges out of the deep, emphasizing the tritone characteristics of the climax while climbing upward. The orchestra provides a background texture with a cloud of tremelos, gong, bass drum and brass doubling.
Low Synth that opens the 1st Dimension
Second Dimension (Lines)
Multiple lines pair up and briefly connect into planes in this contrapuntal orchestral section. Electronics support the section with doubling and textures. The EWI re-enters with the main eight-note theme by the EWI reenters The polytonal harmonic palette expands to the cyclable pattern notated below. The EWI line, electronics, and orchestra build in intensity, reaching a climax into the “Third Dimension, driven by a repeating triplet figure traded between them.
Second Dimension climax with EWI, flute, piano and harp only (rest of the orchestra is muted)
THIRD DIMENSION (planes)
This section of the piece provides a needed moment of solace with EWI soaring over glowing, sustained harmonies, inspired by “A String Around Autumn” by Toru Takemitsu. A quiet, stable point is reached with the piano – repeating a closely-voiced, extended chord.
The 3rd Dimension without the EWI solo
The Fourth Dimension
This strange dimension encompasses three-dimensional space at the same time as being beyond it and it tears into the peaceful 3rd as the work’s loudest moment. To portray that idea, the opening brass chords are forced against their clone, stretched into a long, falling glissando leading to three percussionists playing a complex rhythm with castanets. The “First Dimension” re-emerges with low brass and noisy electronics – but with the tritone is moved upward to a more consonant perfect 5th. The altered theme now evolved, matches the constellation of pitches that have provided most of the melodic material – providing a kind of sonata-form resolution, and taken up by the orchestra to climb to a final statement. Every element of the piece is heard together over a complex, driving rhythm from the percussion and electronics. The EWI and strings take the central theme, the woodwinds repeat the earlier triplet figure, and big brass chords build to the final climax.