This Universe of Light

Music Luke Vogel | Completed May 2015

This is, without a doubt, the biggest – and most ambitious – piece of music I’ve ever written. It was submitted as my dissertation composition during my final year at Brunel University and tells the story of one possible version of the life cycle of the universe – a story that I’ve been fascinated by for many years, and one that I’ve wanted to give life to musically for almost as long.

With the age of the universe estimated to be around 13.6 billion years, condensing that into half an hour of music was never going to be an easy task, so some compromises had to be made. The first movement details how the universe came to be, and the second movement journeys from the moments just after the Big Bang to the formation of the first star clusters and galaxies. A huge amount of time has passed between the end of the second movement and the beginning of the third – almost 15 billion years, roughly – and so unimaginably vast that it seems like there’s more space between stuff than there is stuff in the universe. The fourth and final movement is set even further in the future, at very end of the universe’s life cycle, where the Universe ultimately collapses, before being reborn out of the remnants as an entirely new universe.

This Universe of Light is, on balance, a concert suite for a film score. With this in mind, it is plausible to view it as a work attempting to add to both concert music and film music repertoire. It provides an opportunity to explore approaches to composition often associated with the serialist world and composers such as Schoenberg, taking those techniques and approaches and placing them firmly within the concert hall and/or cinema. This piece was also an opportunity to explore the ways in which music can be structured and orchestrated to represent something: in this case, the life cycle of the universe. With that in mind, it aims to contribute to both concert and film music repertoire. It is also, to a large extent, a tribute and homage to the importance of film music – and perhaps even music in general – as a form of storytelling.

To accurately describe my crazy thought processes within the confines of this info page won’t do it justice – if you’d like to find out more about how I went about writing it, please contact me to ask for the critical essay I had to submit along with the score, or have a look through the ‘This Universe of Light’ tag in my blog.