Clessidra Infinite Column Loading

commissioned by Ircam-Centre Pompidou and SWR for the 100 years anniversary of György Ligeti

1st performance: ManiFeste (Philharmonie de Paris), 19th June 2023, SWR Vokalensemble, cond. Yuval Weinberg, electronics IRCAM: Robin Meier

Duration: 16'

then white light / no longer disguised as matterLouise Glück, End of Summer

“Iridescence” for choir and electronics (2023) is a search for a musical metaphor of light - a radiating sound object, a choir emanating light, inspired by “Lux aeterna” by György Ligeti, one of my lighthouse composers. The title comes from the interviews with Ligeti who used this term to describe sound surfaces of changing colours in terms of harmony and timbre which appeared immediately as a perfect concept to my composition referring to the optic, light-based phenomenon of iridescence in nature.

The voices of the choir are constantly moving in a circle from the highest frequencies down to the lowest pitches and returning, gradually expanding the micro-polyphonic sphere, densifying, enriching, transforming it towards its utmost limits. The only form of sound in the piece is a pure wave, like a simple breath in and out which becomes slower and longer along the organic evolution of the entire sound body. The only text material used, pronounced without consonants and therefore accessible only for the singers, is a phrase from Richard Brautigan's poetry “Star Hole” (“I sit here on the end of a star”) which, like a mantra, is repeated infinite times adding a melancholic, nostalgic, lightly apocalyptic dimension to the lux aeterna theme:

I sit here

on the perfect end

of a star,

watching light

pour itself toward



The light pours

itself through

a small hole

in the sky.


I'm not very happy,

but I can see

how things are


Richard Brautigan


Justė Janulytė © Éditions Salabert/Universal Music Publishing Classical