Infinite Column Recordare Loading

To dream is to forget.. - Fernando Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet

I’ve been living with the minor second all my life and I finally found a way to handle it… Morton Feldman, 1982

Co-commissioned by and written for Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta and Remix Ensemble 

Cyclically floating between different phases of density and intensity, minor and major, slowing or accelerating waves, the piece is woven from hypnotically repetitive patterns of 7 slightly different tempos which intertwine through 16 lines of the ensemble conceived as a complex human body with regular breathing, heart beating, eye movements, blood flow etc., all happening at the same time but not synchronised.

The title “Sleeping Patterns” refers to the brain wave oscillations through different sleep stages as well as to the Morton Feldman’s question “Why Patterns?” 

Duration: 20’

Instrumentation: fl, ob, cl, bsn, tpt, hn, tbn, acc, kbd, 2 vibr, 2 vln, vla, vc, cb

Recording on demand


8 October 2022, Ensemble Modern, Steirischer Herbst festival, Graz (AT)  |  6 November 2022, Remix Ensemble, cond. Peter Rundel, Casa da Música, Porto (PT)  | 20 November 2022, London Sinfonietta, Huddersfield contemporary music festival, St. Paul's Hall 2 December 2022, London Sinfonietta, cond. Jack Sheen. Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (UK)  |  17 December 2022, Ensemble Modern, cond. Jörg Widmann, Alte Oper, Frankfurt (DE)

© Éditions Salabert/Universal Music Publishing Classical

"A similarly paradoxical mix of impenetrability and immersion permeated the London Sinfonietta's performance of Janulytė's Sleeping Patterns. Now we were in the midst of a gentle, breathing pulsation, dissonant and consonant at the same time. Though raptuously beautiful, it too was hard to fathom: neither static nor moving, a shining, shimmering cloud radiating colour and warmth in all directions. It's ironic that Janulytė describes herself as a 'monochrome' composer; the palette may be enigmatic, but I've rarely heard music more suffused with such a vivid panoply of colour." Simon Cummings, HCMF 2022 (Part 2), 5:4

"Janulytė's Sleeping Patterns presents a dense, constatly changing musical flux. Much of her output consists of pieces for monochrome collections of instruments, so writing for the multicoloured lineup of the Sinfonietta and their co-commissioner, Ensemble Modern and Remix Ensemble, offered her a new challange. As the title suggests, Sleeping Patterns is inspired by the different rhythms of a human body - breathing, hearbeat, eye movements, etc - which operate simultaneously but are unsynchronised. Janulytė mirrors these in her use of musical patterns in seven different tempi that weave through the ensemble. They create an intense and compelling micropolyphony, a kaleidoscope of instrumental colour and shifting perspectives." Andrew Clemens, The Guardian

An interview about “Sleeping Patterns” for ensemble (2022)

What catalysed the piece's inception? 

My music could have been always perceived through the logic of waves - pulsating sounds as micro waves, the structure of the piece as one or more macro waves, gradually expanding-shrinking ranges, increasing-releasing dynamics and harmonic tension, slowing-accelerating tempos, densifying-clarifying textures…  I used to search for the right metaphor to describe these oscillating processes in my music, usually discovering the associations in the cyclical processes of nature phenomena or living organisms like the human body. During the sleep waves of the human brain are slowing down through different phases towards the deep sleep stage and accelerate until we wake up. All this is happening in certain cycles and patterns which seemed to be a perfect metaphor for my music this time and so I called my new piece for 16 instruments “Sleeping patterns”, also as a non-direct reply to Morton Feldman’s question “Why Patterns?” “Pattern” is a very musical term after all referring to some repetitive modules, rhythms, structures, melodies.. In my piece there are 7 slightly different tempos of pulsating sounds which intertwine through the ensemble consisting micro groups like string, woodwind and brass trios, duos of vibraphones or accordion/synthesiser etc., as imaginary parts of a complex body with regular breathing, heart pace, eye movements, blood flow etc., all happening at the same time but not synchronised.

Which have been the most challenging moments while composing this work?

The biggest challenge for me was to find a way to adapt my “monochrome” method to a polychrome instrumentation as the sinfonietta. Most of my music written until then was composed for the groups of the same timbre, like only strings, only winds, only voices etc., easy to melt into micro-polyphonic textures where no one is a soloist but each voice is like an echo of another. Meanwhile in my orchestral works I used to overlap big groups of the same colour still keeping their autonomy in the texture. This method was a key also in the piece for sinfonietta which is a sort of bonsai of the symphony orchestra. Just here instead of having at least 20 string players there are only 5, instead of 14 winds there are only 7, and all different. So it was necessary to change my “standpoint” in front of the score, the scale of the image because everything appears much closer, bigger, the details - much more important than in a big orchestra piece. Nevertheless I still wanted to create a timbral amalgam and generate a coherent, consistent sound body, just much more complex and colourful this time. The heart of the piece became the duo of vibraphones and accordion with synthesiser, which glue everything and create a central, continuous pulse around which other instruments are gravitating. 

Are there patterns or signals you would like the listeners to be aware of? 

While following the mix of overlapping pulses, the listeners might gradually enter into hypnotic, immersive processes of changing intensity and maybe even happen to feel their own pace in this dense polyphony.

© 2022 Justė Janulytė