Nickitas Demos

Three Mysteries of Time



  • 1
    Three Mysteries of Time_m1_excerpt
  • 2
    Three Mysteries of Time_m2_excerpt
  • 3
    Three Mysteries of TIme_m3_excerpt

Three Mysteries of Time (2006)

Nickitas Demos

I. Prophecy of Moses - score preview

II. Evidence of Things Not Seen - score preview

III. The Eighth Day - score preview

Duration: 16'

Commissioned by the Wind Rose Trio (and friends)

Three Mysteries of Time is a work, presented in three uninterrupted movements, that concerns itself with the three major time frames of human existence: the origin of the universe, the present world as we now experience it, and the world after the end of time. The work also pays homage to the Quintet for Piano & Winds (K.452) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Aside from sharing the same instrumentation as the quintet by Mozart, the composition also revolves around a similar Eb key center and was written in commemoration of the composer’s 250th Birthday.

The first movement, entitled Prophecy of Moses, references the creation story as detailed in the Book of Genesis (Gen. 1: 1-31, 2:3). The music is not meant to portray each of the seven days of creation literally as outlined in the text, but rather takes a more atmospheric approach; growing from a single sounding Eb in the clarinet, into ever increasingly complex music. The title of the second movement, Evidence of Things Not Seen, is taken from the New Testament, specifically the Letter to the Hebrews (11:1). While the passage refers to Faith, it also suggests, for me, the notion of the Unseen Hand that guides Time as we perceive it in the present age. The music is very mechanical and ordered; like a finely crafted clock. However, there are many instances of time seeming to fall a bit off kilter. What initially seems like a strong down-beat is eventually revealed to be a weak beat and vice-versa throughout the movement. This obfuscation of time is intended to remind the listener of the “fallen” state of the world. This movement also features extensive quotes from themes found in each of the movements of the Mozart quintet. Finally, the last movement, The Eighth Day, takes its name from a theological term used to describe Eternity and Resurrection. It is a day without sunset. The movement is in two clear sections: an opening fanfare sounding the end of Time and a joyous dance-like section meant to represent Paradise. The music makes use of Greek folk rhythms and quotes a hymn, (Ei To OnomaBlessed Be the Name of the Lord) chanted at the very end of the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Orthodox Christian Church.