Instrumentation: Alto Saxophone & Piano
Duration: 7' 30"
Comissioned by and written for Lewis Banks as part of "Afterlife" for Alto Saxophone and Piano.
Omniattentive subtitled Nowadays everything happens at once is the 2nd movement in a larger series of works called Afterlife (written for Alto Saxophone and Piano) which is inspired by David Eagleman’s short story cycle ‘Sum: Forty tales from the afterlives’ that comprises of several speculative stories that postulate a diverse range of scenarios in which humans might find themselves in the afterlife.
Omniattentive is based on the chapter entitled “Quantum”, in which the afterlife is experienced as multiple parallel existences whereby “everything exists in all possible states at once”. In this scenario, parallel lives are led simultaneously and multiple sentient conditions are undertaken at once, which overwhelms the person in this afterlife who eventually requests a simpler existence. The appeal is finally granted and they find themselves alone in a room with their former lover; a state of being which ironically provides a similarly confusing and bittersweet circumstance. This proves that even the simplest action, like being alone with a former lover, carries with it a complex and multi-contradictory experience, but they reply they relate more to this familiarity. This piece is presented as a Theme & Variations which plays as one continuous expression in an attempt to highlight the concept that one musical idea can exist in multiple states at once within the same piece; much like the scenario being described in the chapter “Quantum”. The movement opens with a foreboding theme which is then explored and developed in 8 Variations which simultaneously follows the narrative of Eagleman’s story. The word Omniattentive - meaning “consciousness and awareness in all ways and places” - comes from a 1966 quote by the composer John Cage who said, when referring to the potential of exploring computer-aided/digital presences: “Nowadays everything happens at once and our souls are conveniently electronic (omniattentive)”. The phrase “Nowadays everything happens at once” acts as the subtitle of this movement in an attempt to convey Eagleman’s narrative as well as the overwhelming multitude of sensations that we might experience in a multi-existential quantum afterlife.
Omniattentive for Alto Saxophone & Piano (2019)
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