The Steel Point Rasps & Rasps the Silence

DUMONT Aurélien
Instrumental ensembles Horn, viola, violin, bassoon, clarinet, double bass, cello
ISMN 979-0-56025-775-4
separate parts







Collectif Fractales
à la mémoire d’Aldous Huxley

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In his little essay Music at Night, written in 1931 in Sanary-sur-Mer and just before the famous Brave New World (1932), Aldous Huxley recounts the experience of listening to the Benedictus from Beethoven’s Missa Sollemnis on record in the middle of the Mediterranean night. When the extract ends, he poetically writes: “With a stupid insect-like insistence, the steel point rasps and rasps the silence.”
The work composed here originates in a form of musical transcription of this description, which is gradually brought into tension with the dystopias present in Brave New World, such as the principle of synthetic music and cultural and intellectual conditioning.
The Steel Point Rasps & Rasps the Silence is also a kind of poetic-musical meditation on Huxley’s life and work, including his relationship with music and his friendship with Igor Stravinsky. Stravinsky paid homage to Huxley with his Variations for Orchestra, a twelve-tone work whose series will be used here in the final part of the work.
Divided into five interlocking “worlds”, this homage is built around an original poem broadcast on the electronic medium; algorithmic synthesis sounds also feature, as
well as an audio archive by Aldous Huxley as a conclusion. Huxley wrote in 1956 that these dystopian forecasts were not inevitable, and that our future was still in our hands. Is this still the case today?