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December 4, 2006

UMBC Department of Music Presents a New Work by Carlo Alessandro Landini

December 12, 2006
UMBC Fine Arts Recital Hall

Contact: Thomas Moore
Director of Arts & Culture

The UMBC Department of Music presents an Honors Recital, including the premiere of a new work by Carlo Alessandro Landini (pictured), performed by Ruckus, the professional contemporary music ensemble in residence at UMBC, on Tuesday, December 12th, at 8:00 p.m. in the Fine Arts Recital Hall.

Carlo Alessandro Landini, born in Milan, 1954, was unanimously awarded the Premier Prix of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in 1981. In the same year he received a Fulbright Award, which enabled him to teach at the University of California, San Diego from 1981 to 1983. Since then, he has lived in Italy and now holds the teaching chair in composition at the G. Nicolini Conservatory in Piacenza. He has won numerous competitions (Ennio Porrino, Valentino Bucchi, Città di Mestre, Franco Margola), and is the only composer ever awarded twice (2002 and 2004) the prestigious K. Serocki Prize in Warsaw, Poland. He is also a regular guest composer at the Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt.

His new work, Coming to Life. Generation, Transition, Interlocking of Phases, was commissioned by Ruckus to commemmorate UMBC's 40th Anniversary.

The composer has described the work in the following terms:

In thermodynamics, phase transition (also called phase change) is the transformation of a thermodynamic system from one phase to another. The distinguishing characteristic of a phase transition is an abrupt sudden change in one or more physical properties, in particular the heat capacity, with a small change in a thermodynamic variable such as the temperature. Under the Ehrenfest classification, phase transitions are labeled by the lowest derivative of the free energy that is discontinuous at the transition. First-order phase transitions – such as in Landini’s piece – exhibit a discontinuity in the first derivative of the free energy with a thermodynamic variable. The various transitions to be found in Coming to Life are classified as first-order transitions because they involve a discontinuous change in density (which is the first derivative of the free energy with respect to a chemical or physical potential). The first-order phase transitions are those that involve a latent heat (the repression of drives, not unlike that imagined by Freud, involves the idea of a typical “latency of emotions” as the self-containment and transformation of whatever aesthetic form into very few number of basic, even trivial elements and gestures). During such a transition, a system either absorbs or releases a fixed (and typically large) amount of energy. Because energy cannot be instantaneously transferred between the system and its environment, first-order transitions are associated with “mixed-phase regimes” in which some parts of the system have completed the transition and others have not. This phenomenon is familiar to anyone who has boiled a pot of water: the water does not instantly turn into gas, but forms a turbulent mixture of water and water vapor bubbles. In Wagner’s operas and Mahler’s symphonies the transition may require a considerable, never experienced before, amount of time. Mixed-phase systems are difficult to study, because their dynamics are violent and hard to control. However, they can be emulated by the artist. The presence of symmetry-breaking (or non-breaking) is important to the behavior of phase transitions as it is to the behavior of an artwork. It was pointed out by Landau that, given any state of a system, one may unequivocally say whether or not it possesses a given symmetry. Therefore, it cannot be possible to analytically deform a state in one phase into a phase possessing a different symmetry. Landau’s law receives its poignant application in Landini’s Coming to Life, whereas it is impossible for the solid-liquid phase boundary to end in a critical point like the liquid-gas boundary. Typically, like in the realm of physical world, also in Landini’s piece the more symmetrical phase is on the high-temperature side (the “passionate” side of growing layers of sound and increasing dynamics) of a phase transition, and the less symmetrical phase on the low-temperature side (where the form dramatically falls into the realm of entropy and of disintegration).

Admission is free.

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Posted by tmoore at December 4, 2006 10:38 PM