Tag Archives: Einstein

There Will Be Time, from Einstein’s Dreams (Day 89)

Rooftop scene from "Einstein's Dreams"In this last post showcasing the music of Einstein’s Dreams, a 2007 music theater work I created with playwright Albert Innaurato and director Whit MacLaughlin, I offer two short fragments: a love song and a lullaby. The first is sung by Albert to his beloved Mileva Maric, the two of whom are pictured on the left, as portrayed by Ed Renninger and Rachel Radenburg, accompanied by Oliver Lidert as Einstein’s friend and fellow physicist Besso; the text of this is by Innaurato.

We do understand one another, my love.
We do share secrets and longings.
We are one.
I feel so close to her now that she could be here,
Not just near, not just in my brain,
But here in the flesh, with me, my own.
They say love is strange,
But our love is no mystery.
She is clear to me,
Here with me!

The second piece, a lullaby, is sung on this track by Elyse Ault. It came at the end of a sequence called “Tempus Fugit,” one that suggested in music and movement the feeling of time racing by, and I liked the way it contrasted with the chaotic events that preceded it.

There will be time,
Soon enough, little one,
Time for all of life’s folly.
Time for heartbreak and time for haste,
Time to wonder with time left to waste.
There will be time,
Soon enough, little one,
For all life’s allure and alarms
But now it’s time to slumber peacefully,
Little one, here in my arms.

Is there ever enough time? A child thinking about the future imagines an infinite number of days, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve become increasingly aware that time is finite, a resource to be managed, allocated among competing priorities. We speak of “spending time,” as if we were making withdrawals from an account, and in the days leading up to my sixtieth birthday, I begin to wonder and to worry how much is left in that account. If you’re reading this now, it means you’ve decided to spend a few moments of your precious time with me, and I am grateful that you’ve chosen to do that. This is what artists ask of the world: that you take the time to pay attention to the work we’ve spent so much time creating. In exchange for your time, we offer delight, insight, emotion, connection. Is it worth the time? I believe it is.

If you missed them, these are the songs already posted on Project 194; the links on the right are songs chosen at random from previous posts. Want to contribute to my interactive composition, “Hear My Song?” Read more here. Want to receive daily songs delivered direct to your inbox? Sign up here!

The Kramgasse Clock, from Einstein’s Dreams (Day 88)

“Do you have the time?”

When we speak about the time, we are obliged to do so with precision. Einstein lived in an apartment in Bern at Kramgasse 49 from 1903 to 1905, and in Lightman’s book Einstein’s Dreams, the municipal clock on the Kramgasse is an embodiment of the Swiss commitment to exactitude in time. That clock inspired this polka-style tune:

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Time is a Mirror, from Einstein’s Dreams (Day 87)

Einstein was fascinated with the nature of time, and Lightman’s novella presents a number of different fantasies about what time might be like in Einstein’s teeming imagination. Today’s selection from Einstein’s Dreams is music for an episode in which he speculates that time might be like a mirror.

Quiet are the city streets,
Free from chaos, free from care.
Music from a violin
Gently fills the evening air.

A simple folk-tune is stated by the chorus at the beginning of this section, followed by a passage for two violins. I adore the effect created by the two violins beginning the tune together but slowly going out of sync; effects like this were remarkable effective for “theatricalizing” the notion of relativity using the materials of music and movement. In addition to Sasha, who played on yesterday’s selection, the versatile instrumentalist, singer and actress Phoebe Silva plays on this track, while Ed Renninger rants charmingly on as the young Albert.

If you missed them, these are the songs already posted on Project 194; the links on the right are songs chosen at random from previous posts. Want to contribute to my interactive composition, “Hear My Song?” Read more here. Want to receive daily songs delivered direct to your inbox? Sign up here!

Song of the Orphan, from Einstein’s Dreams (Day 86)

Albert Innaurato found a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke called “Song of the Orphan” that conjured up strong feelings for us about little Liesrl, the abandoned love child of Einstein and Mileva. I mingled the text of the original German poem with Albert’s English translation, and Meg Hubbarth (now Meg Steiner, living and working and raising a daughter in Austin).

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A Letter to Habicht, from Einsteins Dreams (Day 85)

Day 85 of Project 194 brings as unusual a composition as you’ll ever encounter. Biographer Walter Isaacson calls Einstein’s letter to his friend Conrad Habicht “one of the most famous personal letters in the history of science,” describing the four papers that Einstein would publish during his so-called “annus mirabilis,” the miracle year in 1905 when the 26-year-old Einstein formulated ideas that would eventually transform the world of physics while working as a patent clerk in Bern.


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