Love and Tensor Algebra
2016, Small ensemble, soft indetermination
Composed for Discordian Community Ensemble
Text by Michael Kandel / Stanisław Lem
(see credits bellow)
“Love en Tensor Algebra” was specifically written for the Discordian Community Ensemble, an ensemble specialized in working the gap between composition and improvisation. This piece uses indetermination to arrange the material in time. The whole piece works as an abstract machine: there are some inputs—materials or gestures played by some instruments—which are processed by the other members of the ensemble. When hearing a specific material which is linked in the score with a series of possible outputs, the next player selects one of the outputs and plays it. This new material is then linked to a collection of other possible materials to be played by other musicians and so on and the choices everyone makes determine the resulting order of the materials.
This mechanic structure is in consonance with the theme of the piece, illustrated by the words of a poem found in the english version—as translated, or reworded, by Michael Kandel—of Stanisław Lem’s book “The Cyberiad”. The poem appears in the middle of a story where one of the two protagonists—two cibernetic “constructors”—build a machine capable of improvising elaborate poems. An “Electrobard”. Because of the rivalry between the two characters, the other constructor puts to test this machine asking for several elaborate poems, every time more demanding. One of this poems, improvised by the machine, speaks of love and tensor algebra, and comprises, abridged, the lyrics of this piece, as if the whole ensamble had become the machine reciting the poem.