|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.|
The Numinosum Blog
Sadly my time here with the St. Olaf College Band is almost up. Tonight, April 19th at 7:30pm Central Time is the Band concert premiering my commissioned composition, The Long Now. You can check it out live at the St. Olaf site. If you can't catch the concert live, you can listen at the archive section of the St. Olaf website-look for the April 19th Band concert. Below are my program notes for The Long Now. I've really enjoyed my week here in Northfield with the Band and have been impressed by their musicianship and generosity of spirit and will remember my time with them fondly.
I first heard of the Long Now Foundation when years ago a friend of mine worked a summer "internship" on one of their projects: The Rosetta Project, an attempt to create a publicly and easily accessible on-line library of all documented human language. The Long Now Foundation, founded in 01996, is a California based organization whose goal is "to provide counterpoint to today's ‘faster/cheaper’ mind set and promote ‘slower/better’ thinking" and "to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years." The term ‘long now’, which connotes a stretching of what people consider as now, was created by composer/producer Brian Eno, a founding board member of the Foundation.
One of the things that fascinated me about the Long Now Foundation and, subsequently became it’s most mainstream and well-known concept, is The Clock of the Long Now. Sometimes called the 10,000 Year Clock or the World’s Slowest Computer, the final monument sized, all-mechanical Clock will be built to last about the same length of time (10,000 years) as human technological progression to date. The concept of the Clock reminded me of the awe the 11th century near mythological 30 foot tall astronomical water clock of Sun Sung must have instilled in the ancient Chinese who were lucky enough to see it. To me, just the idea of some distant post-human, 10,000 years from now, stumbling upon a still functioning 21st century Sun Sung clock, a mysterious artifact from our own times, is quite an intriguing, inspiring, and beautiful thought. My composition The Long Now is inspired by the wonder and hopefulness of that thought.
The Miles Johnson Endowment commissioned The Long Now for the 2008-2009 St. Olaf Band, Dr. Timothy Mahr, conductor. This work was also funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center.
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To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.