Repertoire Search

Rolf Wallin

Publisher: Chester Music

Manyworlds (2010)
Commissioned by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover.
Chester Music Ltd
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
30 Minutes
Programme Note
Rolf Wallin Manyworlds (2010)
for large orchestra

Modern physics makes the most spectacular conceptions of religious mysticism appear oddly sober and down-to-earth. This is particularly true of the so-called string and membrane theories, in which the universe is described as a continuous web of vibrations, where energy and matter (included ourselves...) are illusions created by the frequencies of vibrating "strings" or multidimensional "membranes".

Analogies to music are abundant in quantum physics, and as a composer I have always thought of music as a universe in which amazing multidimensional and multicoloured sculptures can be created. In my works I have tried to create a few of the infinite possibilities.

This total liberty is wonderful, but it causes also a constant dilemma: What makes one artistic decision better than another? Where does the music go from where it is right now? This is something that comes to mind when I try to get my head around the mind-boggling Many-world theory. It deals with a very large, perhaps infinite number of universes; and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but didn't, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes. So there is a universe in which Columbus did not reach America, one where the entire Milky Way is nonexistent, etc. etc.

Of course it is impossible to describe this in a piece for orchestra. But in Manyworlds I deal with many "parallel musics" where every music contains the seed of all the other musics. We can therefore travel from one music to another within a fraction of a second, and one musical situation can have one outcome one time, and later a totally different one.
Hmm. Sounds like the description of a symphony? Well, maybe composers and quantum physicists are more similar than we think?

© Rolf Wallin 2010

This work can also be accompanied by a 3D film. For full information on the technical rider for this version, please click here

Manyworlds 3D – demo excerpts from Rolf Wallin on Vimeo.

Score preview:

  • Ensemble
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
    Hakan Hardenberger, trumpet
    John Storgårds
We're back to vintage Wallin: a composer whose handling of a large orchestra can have the same pinhead acuity of his ensemble works, and who isn't afraid to alight on something simple and attempt to unlock its poetry through enforced repetition.
Andrew Mellor, Gramophone,01/09/2015
On the Manyworlds 3D premiere: In Manyworlds Boya Bøckman offers planet-like circles and barren landscapes. ”This is how the world is”, the video tells us. This is how the world is that we cannot see, with distances we cannot fathom. Skeleton structures and tubes meander infinitely. We don’t know exactly what we are experiencing; what could be the surface of an unknown planet could also be the skin of a small animal. The orchestra sparkled in the meeting with Rolf Wallin’s effective material. Wallin knows the medium and conjures the structures: sometimes with intense pulsation, sometimes in thundering blocks of sound with military tight percussion. Then gliding in melodic movements, in the context they sounded weightless.
Ida Habbestad, Aftenposten ,16/02/2012
With Manyworlds Rolf Wallin confirms his position as Norway's leading contemporary composer. Well formed and sometimes cool sounds in a surprising course of events shows a musical dramaturg in top form. Here everything was organically connected in a well-wrought sound sculpture, for the entire half hour's duration – from a deep primeval plane the orchestral sound stretched, warped and folded in ever new facets, but never bombastic, never heavy. Rolf Wallin's orchestral craft is of world class. At the same time he is unique in his non-pompous, almost coolly calculating mode of expression, like in the long mid section where transparent string sounds are allowed to lie and shimmer statically for a radically long time. But he does engage, as one of the few confident dramaturgs of Norwegian contemporary music, something the intense and surprisingly sudden ending bore witness of. The music comes to silence in this world, but definitively carries on in my head.
Ragnhild Veire, NRK Radio,01/01/0001
Close X

Newsletter Signup

Enter your email address to keep up to date with the latest news and special offers from Wise Music Classical.
Your data is secure and you can unsubscribe at any time. Read our Privacy Policy

Click here to receive regular news
© Copyright 2020 Wise Music Classical. Part of Wise Music Group.