Work

tenor, video, and 6-track tape
  • Premiere: October 28, 2012, William George, tenor • MANTIS Fall 2012: Concert 4, Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall — The University of Manchester (Manchester, England, UK)

Alan Turing (1912-1954) was the brilliant British mathematician who is widely recognized as the father of the modern computer at the University of Manchester, having demonstrated its theoretical possibility in what is known as the Turing machine. He also became famous after his death when his role during World War II in deciphering the German “Enigma” code that was key to the British war effort in the Atlantic finally became publicly known.

Barry Truax’s work Enigma is an unstaged but dramatic rendition of two key periods in Turing’s personal life, the first from his early years when he became infatuated with the brilliant Christopher Morcom who died young and the second from his final years when he was convicted of gross indecency (as was Oscar Wilde more than a half century earlier) because of a homosexual liaison and eventually committed suicide.

In between these two sections will be a piano and multi-channel soundscape piece From The Unseen World based on the digitally processed “Christopher arpeggio” which turns it into an ethereal swirl of harmonics, the title being a phrase of Turing’s to refer to the spirit dimension — and by extension to Christopher.

oeuvre@33720