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Rolf Wallin

Publisher: Chester Music

Solve et coagula (1992)
Chester Music Ltd
Large Ensemble (7+ players)
Year Composed
13 Minutes
Programme Note
Rolf Wallin Solve et coagula (1992)
Alchemy is known as the grandfather of modern chemistry, but the philosophical aspects of it was perhaps even more important. The term 'solve et coagula', dissolve and coagulate, appears in the first phase of opus magnum, the work of the alchymist. The chaotic massa confusa, excavated from the mountain, has to undergo a long process in which it is repeatedly dissolved and coagulated, and from this the prima materia emanates, the raw material for making gold. The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung was very occupied with the archetypal aspects of alchemy, and was struck by the similarities between opus magnum and the psychoanalytical process. In the latter, the massa confusa of the subconscious is the prime instrument for reaching a state of mental balance and completeness.

The massa confusa of this piece is number material emanating from a so-called "fractal" mathematical function. It is relatively simple, but it generates fascinating and surprisingly "organic" patterns when repeated a large number of times. In my music, the numerical material acts as a skeleton on which a more intuitive musical shaping can take place.

© Rolf Wallin

Preview the score:

  • Ensemble
    BIT 20 (ning); SISU Percussion Ensemble (Stonewave); Cikada Ensemble (Solve et coagula)
    Hilde Torgersen, mezzo-soprano / Kenneth Karlsson, piano (Though what made it has gone)
    Ingar Bergby (ning); Christian Eggen (Solve et coagula)
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