How to Play an "Impossible" Piece
In philosophy, it’s known as the omnipotence paradox: can an all-powerful being create a rock too heavy for itself to lift? Next weekend, cellist Timothy Loo will tackle a performance paradox: can a musician perform a piece that is "impossible" to play?
Nomos Alpha is a work for solo cello by composer (and architect) Iannis Xenakis, who filled the music with mathematical theories, architectural symbols and a passage that is technically impossible to play. Loo will perform the peice as part of a program next Saturday evening called Hallucination, presented by the always adventurous, contemporary classical series Jacaranda: music at the Edge.
You can hear my whole conversation with Loo (and Patrick Scott, the Artistic Director of Jacaranda) on Arts Alive, but here are a few photos of the Nomos Alpha score ... does it look unplayable to you?
Arts Alive airs Saturdays at 8AM and is available as a podcast.