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Emptiness

Soprano and 13 solo strings.

7 violins / 3 viola / 2 cello / 1 double bass

“Emptiness,” composed for soprano soloist and 13 solo strings, originally written for Emily Thorner and the United Strings of Europe, resonates with the existential crises of our times. The text “one dying planet” poignantly underscores the urgency of our current climate crisis, prompting deep reflection on the state of our world and our place within it. Lines such as “no one here by that name exists, nothing here belongs to us, we just borrow stars” evoke a profound sense of transience and contemplation.

Taken literally, the piece suggests that our existence is bound by the physical limitations of a dying planet, where nothing truly belongs to us, and nothing beyond our immediate perception exists. However, it is the music, rather than the text, that offers a different perspective, leading listeners into an indescribable, almost magical space. This is a space beyond logical thought that paradoxically becomes a realm of infinite possibilities.

As we ponder the text and hear “we are cosmically mundane” and the repeated “no one” and “nothing,” the music opens a portal of familiarity, suggesting that perhaps the answers lie beyond what we can see. In the absence of conventional belief, we are drawn into a realm beyond words, sight, or logic—a space that feels transcendental.

Ultimately, “Emptiness” invites us to find solace in the intangible, evoking a sense of something beyond our current dimension. It leaves us with the lingering thought: in the void of “nothing there, no one there,” perhaps there lies everything. (Emily Thorner / Matthew Whiteside)

Text:

No one here by that name exists.

Only hints.

Nothing here belongs to us.

We just borrow stars.

Our self, a dream, a burning cloud.

Illusions on the wall

One breaking mind

Driving one fragile body

On one dying planet.

Vast distances of nothing.

We are cosmically mundane.

Looking at infinity.

At Emptiness. Pointlessness.

Silence.


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