Luminous Emptiness was written by Marcelo Toledo for seven instruments: flute, clarinet, violin, cello, trumpet, trombone and percussion. He was commissioned by The Essl Collection for the SCHÖMER-HAUS in Klosterneuburg, Vienna. Luminous Emptiness premiered at Wien Modern Festival 2012 by the new music ensemble Klangforum Wien, conducted by Jean-Bernard Matter. This is the recording of the dress rehearsal. The work is dedicated to Gerardo Gandini.
My approach concentrates on the plasticity of those configurations in the sky that have occupied the mind and imagination of human beings for thousands of years...
As yet another version of the same experience, the material of this composition is a group of about 20 constellations from the northern hemisphere. Their visual configurations suggest lines of forces of various types offering a palette of structural possibilities. Space becomes time, and constellations become musical objects in permanent transformation. That transformation, however, is not expressed in the constellations themselves, but rather in their positioning inside the musical space, both in terms of frequencies and durations: constellations rotate and move along the pitch and time axes, reproducing themselves in multiples or independent linear trajectories.
The limited number of constellations as musical objects was decided as a necessary constraint from which to explore several states of perception throughout the work, creating continuity and difference with the same musical materials. The large-scale form is composed of areas in which the organizational principle is that of symmetric structures placed slightly off of each other. The same principle is reflected in each section of the work with the intention of avoiding hierarchies or moments that could be more significant than others.
The introduction breaks the overall symmetric form with the presentation of simultaneous constellations as attacks with and without resonance, followed by a section of total percussive sounds. The next seven sections present an interlock of two situations. One is static and freezes the passing of time in four moments: autumn, winter, spring and summer. The other, called fluid moments, presents three aspects: vertical fluidity, oblique fluidity, and fluid waves. The work ends with a resonance of autumn suggesting a new cycle. - Marcelo Toledo