good deal of what I have written here is related (sometimes only tangentially) to serious music. Some posts about interesting musicians or composers are accompanied by live broadcast recordings. To contact me, email at boomboomsky at gmail dot com.
There are no commercial recordings on this blog.
A word of warning: Occasionally I use strong (and insensitive) language in referring to various arrogant and incompetent assholes who managed to get on my nerves. Or simply because it gets a point across with greater directness and transparency. If you are squeamish about strong language, then stay away from this blog.

November 2, 2011

Wolfgang Rihm II

Image: NASA

A deep mystery in cosmology today is the recently discovered acceleration in the rate at which the universe expands.  It is a mystery because cosmologists so far have no theoretically well-grounded explanation of why there should be any acceleration at all, let alone why it should have the rate that it does.  Hence the widely speculative conjectures about hitherto unknown exotic forms of energy as possible causes of acceleration: dark energy, phantom energy, quintessence, dark fluid, and more.
Energy-schmenergy!  Here's a much simpler, empirically testable explanation:

The expansion of the universe is accelerating because this is the only way the universe can keep up with the accumulation of new scores produced by Wolfgang Rihm.

Without accelerated expansion Rihm's new scores would quickly push the mass density of the universe to the critical point at which the universe would undergo gravitational collapse back into the singularity from which it originally emerged some 14 billion years ago.
      Unlike the quasi-metaphysical speculations of cosmologists, the above explanation makes a directly testable prediction: As soon as Rihm stops producing new scores -  either by choice a la Rossini or because of the inescapable biological limitations on the longevity of normally functioning neural structures - the acceleration will cease, and spacetime will then continue to expand at a uniform rate - just as it did from the end of the initial post-Big Bang inflation until the day Rihm was signed by Universal Edition.

I hasten to add that this cosmological explanation is not meant to cast a shadow of doubt on the quality of Rihm's music, much of which I find very enjoyable and occasionally unforgettably beautiful.  It's just that there is a lot of it already, and its quantity keeps growing seemingly faster than the combined output of all the other living European composers.



Bob Falesch said...

I enjoy your range of interest, Boom, from early Beethoven chamber music to all kinds of modern and contemporary scores. In the case of Rihm, I keep excavating those mounds of perfectly competent works trusting that if I persist, I'll find the occasional gem that transcends his undoubted craftsmanship. Perhaps there's one in this group. Thanks for digging up all of this!

Ant_Brk said...

Thanks again Boom. I liked very much the Viola concerto, which I have not heard before.