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Fiat Lux : The Light Cycle, eight songs for massed voices and electronics

by Alice Chance (2017)

Fiat Lux


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Work Overview

Fiat Lux is a journey from some of the earliest representations and understandings of light to those of the present day. The work reflects and refracts its way through the sacred, the secular, the scientific and the artistic. It is itself a spectrum, each movement glistening with its own electronic colours, and a unified work with familiar 'light-motifs' scattered like seeds throughout. After the sparse biblical introduction, the (since proven, incorrect) ideas of Roman poet Lucretius set the work in a flurry of motion. The march of progress continues with the integral findings of Islamic polymath Ibn al-Haytham in the field of optics. A personal reflection on the speed of light and musical applications possible with its numerals is followed by a ruminative shadowy sound-world inspired by the works of impressionist painter, Renoir. The following reflection on the present day need for respite from brightness will resonate with many in the audience before the circle is completed with a revitalised Fiat Lux. We leave you with a Buddhist prayer for the light of compassion.

Work Details

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: Solo vocal sextet, SATB choir, one laptop running Logic or Mainstage, stereo playback.

Duration: 55 min.

Difficulty: Medium — The SATB Choir parts are suitable for untrained voices

Contents note: And the Lord said, Fiat Lux -- The Mirror -- Straight Lines (Ibn al-Haytham) -- 299792458 -- Shadow -- Light-stained -- Fiat Lux (Reprise) -- Prayer for Compassion (Om Mani Padme Hum).

Commission note: Commissioned by Leichhardt Espresso Chorus for performance by The Song Company, Leichhardt Espresso Chorus.

First performance: by Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, The Song Company, Michelle Leonard — 1 Oct 17. St James Church, Sydney

Sources of text include the Bible ; Lucretius ; Ibn al-Haytham ; Buddhist prayer, and the composer.

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Choral, Minimal, Massed Voices. Influences: Paul Stanhope, Elena Kats-Chernin, Ross Edwards, Nigel Westlake

Finalist for Vocal/Choral Work of the Year in the 2018 Art Music Awards


Resonate article: 2018 Art Music Awards - comments by judging panels by Australian Music Centre

Performances of this work

25 Sep 2021: at SOLOS IV: LOTTE (On demand event (online only)). Featuring Lotte Betts-Dean.

1 Oct 17: St James Church, Sydney. Featuring Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, The Song Company, Michelle Leonard.

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