for harp and percussion
Commissioned for the project God Complex by Sticks and Strings, Rosanna Moore and Trevor Bartlett
7 minutes

Program Note

In the Orphic tradition Khronos was the primordial god of time, emerging self-formed at the dawn of creation. He was envisioned as an incorporeal god in the shape of a serpent with three heads — those of a man, a bull, and a lion.

Khronos, along with Ananke the goddess of inevitability, encircled the primordial world-egg until they split it apart, forming the earth, sea, and sky. After, they began to circle the cosmos, which was said to have begun the eternal passage of time.

I’ve always been interested in exploring conceptual spaces as a composer. They are places where earthly logic and scientific truth become something else.

In researching the Orphic tradition, the sheer difference of temporality between now and then colors our perceptions of the world in a manner both curious, and intriguing. When I began my research into the primordial god Khronos, what struck me was this concept of “the place before time”. Where things exist, but yet time does not. This concept got me thinking about how we perceive time, and the many ways that we might influence our perception of this construct. Is time in the now, or is it eternal? Is it circular, or is it a straight line? At its core, Khronos seeks to explore how we understand time itself.

There are many elements of historical account that find their way into this work. Visual imagery helped shape my approach and some of the compositional techniques that were chosen. Also, there is a preoccupation of the number three and many different places that this can be found (heads, worlds, times, entities). This interest with threes propagates everywhere throughout my work as well; from the overall structure and pacing, to the compositional layers, and even in the spatial configuration of the work. One could say that Khronos seeks to embody, or make manifest various aspects of its incorporeal counterpart.