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Xing for 2 conductors and ensemble (2019)

by Adam Łukawski

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In Chinese philosophy before the beginning of matter, there is just nothingness – such empty that for a human being it is not possible to imagine it. From emptiness, borders are created (Xing) to make a form for perceivable emptiness (Wu). Some of the other meanings of Xing are: “new beginning”, “to wake up” or “to conduct”.

Form of the piece was inspired by the physical string theory in which collisions of gigantic string-shaped structures give birth to new universes operating with different dimensions and physical rules. In the piece, conductors deciding tempi of separate structures causes their meetings and beginnings of new small soundscapes.

The concept of an idea of connecting different elements to create something new in a secular ritual of logic and rhetoric reminds me of the one from the last novel by Hermann Hesse – The Glass Bead Game. As this concept is very important to me, I decided to translate his poem with the same title into the rhythmical code and further incorporate it into the musical structure as a symbol in the last 90 seconds of music.

Video recording: youtu.be/zCl4LH4zH5g


Hermann Hesse
The Glass Bead Game

We re-enact with reverent attention
The universal chord, the masters’ harmony,
Evoking in unsullied communion
Minds and times of highest sanctity.

We draw upon the iconography
Whose mystery is able to contain
The boundlessness, the storm of all existence,
Give chaos form, and hold our lives in rein.

The pattern sings like crystal constellations,
And when we tell our beads, we serve the whole,
And cannot be dislodged or misdirected,
Held in the orbit of the Cosmic Soul.


released May 15, 2019
composition: Adam Łukawski

performance: The Score Collective Ensemble conducted by Ben Weishaupt and Bas van Yperen

recorded during Composers' Festival Amsterdam 2019 by Attie Bauw and his students


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