Paranoiac-Critical Variations

for orchestra (Commissioned by the UIUC Symphony Orchestra) (2011) 9'

Program Notes: 

Paranoiac-Critical Variations (2011), commissioned by the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra, is inspired by the paranoiac-critical method (PCM) developed by Salvador Dalí in the early 1930s. Dalí describes the PCM as a "spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the critical and systematic objectivity of the associations and interpretations of delirious phenomena." The method was inspired by the ability of the brain to perceive links between things that rationally are not linked. Paranoiac-Critical Variations is concerned with the implications of Dalí's PCM for sound and music, perceptual links between variations and juxtapositions of musical materials, as well as the themes, mood, and gestures present in several works from Dalí's paranoiac-critical period: The Persistence of Memory, Soft Construction with Boiled Beans, The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, Autumn Cannibalism, and The Sublime Moment.

Paranoiac-Critical Variations is organized into six movements to be performed mostly without pause. Each movement is approached with one of the above mentioned works in mind, and attempts, albeit sometimes abstractly, to highlight features of the painting: I. The Persistence of Memory uses the notions of juxtaposition, melting, and gestural shapes drawn from objects in the painting; II. Soft Construction uses the mood and intent of the painting; III. The Disintegration is a derivative of movement I. as The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory is a derivative of The Persistence of Memory; IV. Metamorphosis of Narcissus uses the notions of juxtaposition, variation, and the shapes of objects from the painting; V. Cannibalism in Autumn uses the notions of juxtaposition and mood; and VI. The Sublime Moment uses mood and the shapes of objects from the painting.