Hèctor Parra’s Inscape (2018)

New Orchestral Works Commissions

Premièred last 19 May in Barcelona, Hèctor Parra’s Inscape continues the return to the pure sound phenomenon at a very vast scale.

Dedicated to the late British scientist Stephen Hawking, the work blends the physical sciences, astronomy, and music.

Let’s make no secret of it: the concepts deployed by Hèctor Parra, himself the son of a scientist, are frighteningly complex: the dilation of time, the formation of a black hole, the dissipative vibration of the event horizon…
But the composer’s endeavour, on which he embarks with the great physicist Jean-Pierre Luminet, is one of mad ambition: to take us on a journey inside a rotating black hole.


The concert hall etches out the cartography of our universe: in the centre, an ensemble of 8 soloists (treated electronically), entrusted with a boiling, frothing score; behind it, a symphonic orchestra (not electronically rendered) and, beyond, couples of soloists scattered around the hall and grouped by instrument family.

Parra also conjures up an “acoustic trompe l’œil”, to be enjoyed with eyes closed: led by the subtle downward sliding of the strings, the music itself becomes movement.

After the silence of the origins, the orchestra unfurls superhuman forces, necessary for the beginnings of the universe.

The electronic treatment further speeds up the matter, until it implodes. Musical space-time curls in, then warps out of shape, saturated with gravitational waves.

Then, just like in the Christopher Nolan movie Interstellar , the audience is taken right through the black hole: here, Parra flips into pure poetry, scientists having demonstrated that black holes are the entry way to other parts of the universe, and possibly even to other universes entirely…


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