13 September 2014

A small but crucial part of everywhere

     Three movements of Symphony 41 pass by...And then the finale, its four modest notes. Do, re, fa, mi: half a jumbled scale. Too simple to be called invented. But the thing spills out into the world like one of those African antelopes that fall from the womb, still wet with afterbirth but already running.
     Young Peter props up on his elbows, ambushed by a memory from the future. The shuffled half scale gathers mass; it sucks up other melodies into its gravity. Tunes and countertunes split off and replicate, chasing each other in a cosmic game of tag. At two minutes, a trapdoor opens underneath the boy. The first floor of the house dissolves above a gaping hole. Boy, stereo, speaker boxes, the love seat he sits on: all hang in place, floating on the gusher of sonority pouring into the room.
      Five viral strands propagate, infecting the air with runaway joy. At three and a half minutes, a hand scoops  Peter up and lifts him high above the blocked vantage of his days...
      At six minutes into the amazement, the give galloping melodies align in a quintuple fugue. Lines echo and overlap, revealing where the music has been heading from the opening Do. They plait together too tightly for Peter's ear to make out everything that happens inside the five-way weave. The sound surrounds him, and Peter is immanent, inside it all, a small but crucial part of everywhere...

-- from Orfeo by Richard Powers (2014)

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