Cartesian Rainbow

(2017) 8' / for percussion solo
Commissioned by Louisa Marxen and premiered by her on January 18th, 2018 in Basel, Switzerland

Composer's Note

While looking for a text to punctuate the percussive continuum of Cartesian Rainbow, I came across René Descartes’ explanation of how a rainbows are formed (Discours de la méthode, 1647), which inspired me to investigate spectral colors. I discovered then how concise and imaginative the names of colors are and how difficult it is to label timbre (tone color) – „contrabassoon, contra-Bb in fortissimo“ or „horn in F, middle-c, stopped, in pianissimo“. Again the eye triumph over the ear. No wonder the saying is „a picture is worth a thousand words“. [Rosewood, guardsman red], red, orange, [blaze orange], yellow, [electric lime, chartreuse, bright green], green, [cyan, dodger blue, azure radiance, blue ribbon], blue, [electric violet, pigment indigo, ripe plumb, pompadour], indigo, violet. - Mike Svoboda, December 2017

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