Ars Electronica 1990
Festival-Program 1990
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Festival 1979-2007


Kepler´s Last Dream

'Frances-Marie Uitti Frances-Marie Uitti

"With this symphony of voices man can play through the eternity of time in less than an hour, and can taste in small measure the delight of God, the Supreme Artist …"
Kepler's Last Dream, a miniature allegorical opera for one based on his writings in general, and the Somnium in particular. This last was his metaphorical work written in 1609 on the geography of the moon, hiding an impassioned argument in favor of unpopular Copernican theory. The musical material reflects the allegorical nature of the Somnium, mirrored in double and triple layers of meaning and complexity. Proportion, velocity and pitch, shape the geometry of the work which employs multiple restrung and re-tuned celli, voice, visuals and electronics as orchestrations. Tautological references as well as contrasting material make up the work. Certain influences such as the following: Within the "symphony of voices" Kepler believed that the planetary speeds were reflected in corresponding frequencies (Do, Re, Mi etc.) and that in the "Harmony of the Spheres" the tones of the Earth were Fa and Mi, or loosely interpreted, FaMine, the truly doleful state of our planet …

The Somnium was one of the first science-fiction fantasies to be written, and hosts a cast of characters thinly disguised as coming from Kepler's own history. Duracotus is Kepler, Science embodied. Fiolxhilde was ignorance and the mother of Science. In Kepler's fiction, she was a sorceress, and in actuality Kepler's real mother Katherine was to be tried for witchcraft in a long torturous trial. The Somnium clothes its characters in mythological forms while revealing a very serious scientific treatise behind the story.