Matt Van  Brink, composer, pianist, accordionist

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Sunspots (2003)

piano solo | 8 mins.

“Imagine this very elaborate scientific lie: that sound cannot travel through outer space. Well, but suppose it can. Suppose They don't want us to know there is a medium there, what used to be called an "aether," which can carry sound to every part of the Earth. The Soniferous Aether. For millions of years, the sun has been roaring, a giant, furnace, 93 millionmile roar, so perfectly steady that generations of men have been born into it and passed out of it again, without ever hearing it. Unless it changed, how would anybody know? Except that at night now and then, in some part of the dark hemisphere, because of eddies in the Soniferous Aether, there will come to pass a very shallow pocket of no-sound. For a few seconds, in a particular place, nearly every night somewhere in the World, sun-energy from Outside is shut off. The roaring of the sun stops. For its brief life, the point of sound shadow may come to rest a thousand feet above a desert, between floors in an empty office building, or exactly around a seated individual in a working-class restaurant, where they hose the place out at 3 every morning . . . it's all white tile, the chairs and tables riveted solid into the floor, food covered with rigid shrouds of clear platic . . soon, from outside, rrrnnn! clank, drag, squeak of valve opening oh yes, ah yes, Here Are The Men With The Hoses To Hose The Place Out—”

from Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)

First performed by Matt Van Brink
November 2003, Boston University

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