GEORGES LENTZ - composer
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The Origin of "Caeli enarrant..."
On New Year's Day 1989, I read an essay in a science magazine about the unimaginable vastness of the universe. While I had of course known before that the universe was huge, for some reason this article, with the force of an earthquake, pulled the ground from under my feet and precipitated me into a state of intense and lasting panic - all I could think was how utterly insignificant we humans are in this gigantic scheme! I remember that for weeks I was unable to sleep - all of a sudden, everything seemed pointless, meaningless, lonely. I will never forget the feeling - like a shudder - as if I was standing at the edge of a precipice, staring into a gaping abyss. With hindsight, I can see that I must have suddenly fallen into a severe kind of depression. Anyhow, whatever its exact name and cause, it was a terrifying state and I needed to sort it out as fast as possible.
A few days later, on January 6, I started writing down some ideas for a new musical work that would reflect my emotional state - an orchestral composition at first (which would become "Caeli enarrant..." I), but I also wrote down some more general thoughts for a larger project. Some latent threads that run throughout "Caeli enarrant..." go back to these first January days of 1989, during which the outline of the cycle as a whole quickly became clearer. By the end of that month, the whole structure of the cycle was pretty much established and has changed very little since (even though, in terms of musical detail, I had no idea where I was going). Of course my nervous state settled down with time, but I can say that, in a way, all my compositional activities since then go back to this initial crisis and have been an attempt to "work things out" for myself.
G. L. 2002