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Anthony Tommasini of the The New York Times writes,

"whole stretches of this organic, restless and unruly score conveyed the sense of creation as a tumultuous process. " (01/15/05)

Kyle Gann of the Village Voice writes,

“Richard Carrick's Cosmicomics was an almost operatically ambitious multimedia piece with video, narration, and a scintillating score, each movement exploring a different textural conceit. The concept was clever, a quotidian meditation on the vastness of cosmic immensity. For instance, the narrator sees through a telescope a sign reading, "I saw you" in a galaxy 200 billion light-years away, and tries to think back what he might have been guilty of doing on that long-ago day….Each element had its own engaging narrative.” (01/20/05) read full review

Cosmicomics and Richard Carrick's multi-media work is featured in the

Magazine of Chamber Music America, "The Multi-Media Challenge" by Randy Nordschow, 12/2005, vol.22, no.6, p.28


In four movements, with three interludes. 26 minutes duration

Based on four stories from Italo Calvino. Collaboration with video designer Peter Nigrini

Performed by Sequitur Ensemble, Richard Lalli - narrator, Paul Hostetter - conductor

Merkin Hall, NYC January 12, 2005

Scored for Narrator, ensemble (flute, oboe, clarinet, trombone, percussion, violin, viola,cello), multi-channel video, and electronic sounds.

I The Form of Space

II The Light-Years

III All at One Point

IV A Sign in Space

DVD available upon request.

program notes

Cosmicomics, based on four stories from Italo Calvino's novel, scored for narrator, ensemble, multiple projection, and electronic sounds.

I. The Form of Space

II The Light-Years

III All at One Point

IV A Sign in Space

Our collaboration began with a desire to make a highly integrated music/image work for the concert hall, along with a simple mandate to produce a work based on a piece of literature. While at first our attention was focused on the intricacies of sonic/visual integration, we were equally challenged by the narrative aspect of collaborating with a literary source. Since we wanted the music, video, and story to be of equal importance, how were we to make a work of art that was fundamentally bound to a narrative while not giving-in to the standard features of narrative prose such as stable setting, character development, text-setting, and the like?

We chose four chapters of the Calvino text, Cosmicomics, because their illustrative style and abstract content they were particularly suited to our endeavor. Unfullfillment, insatiate desires, and the longing for the unobtainable are the staples of our unnamed characters diet. He spends each chapter frustrated with the limits imposed on him by the impersonal realities of science, as in: I. the inability of parallel lines to converge, II. waiting for a sign 200 million light-years away, III. the cramped existence within the singular unity before the big bang, and IV. the fading comfort of empty space as it develops into the modern day.

Our adaptation provides the barest minimum of the original text: replacing much of the prose with the artifacts and impressions Cosmicomics left in our music/video creation.

Special thanks to Zachary Oberzanm Chris Snyder, and Rebecca Stanton. Archival footage supplied by the Internet Moving Images Archive, in association with Prelinger Archives. Permission to use the Calvino granted by the Wylie Agency, New York.

This piece was funded, in part, by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center, the Banff Center for the Arts, Canda, and the Harry and Alice Eiler Foundation. This piece is written for the Sequitur Ensemble and dedicated to Harry and Alice Eiler.

_RC and PN

Press Release 12/20/04:

Cosmicomics is a multi-media collaboration between composer Richard Carrick and video projection designer Peter Nigrini. It is based on four magnificent fables from Italo Calvino’s novella of the same name. Calvino’s main character exists throughout time and space, experiencing scientific phenomena such as the universal singularity before the big bang, the curvature of space caused by massive objects, and the threshold beyond which light from the universe will never be able to reach earth. Quirky, inspired, and endlessly inventive, Calvino’s stories humanize these phenomena by spinning out absurd tales of frustration, love, insecurity, and loneliness.

Carrick and Nigrini have scored these four stories as a 25-minute work for narrator, chamber ensemble, multi-channel video and electronics. As a multi-media concert piece where live performance is paramount, the video is interactive and controllable in real-time, allowing the performance all the freedoms normally afforded in a traditional concert.

Cosmicomics is a collaboration of sound and image that equally blend all aspects of music and the moving image. It does away with the hierarchy of one media leading the other, creating a meta-work consisting of light, timbre, color, harmony, image and gesture.

COSMICOMICS - All at One Point

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