Mathew Rosenblum's new work, The Big Rip (A Science Fiction Cantata), was premiered by the Calmus Vocal Ensemble of Leipzig and the Rascher Saxophone Quartet on September 10 at The Niedersächsische Musiktage (Lower Saxony Music Festival) in Hameln Germany. The piece was also performed at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig on October 25 as part of the Calmus Ensembles' 10th Anniversary concert. The Calmus Ensemble is the recent recipient of the 2009 ECHO KLASSIK Award, the German Grammy.
According to Rosenblum,
"The Big Rip uses the basic theme of "Night," the theme of the 2009 Niedersächsische Musiktage, as its core idea. Instead of night as we experience it at the end of each day, I decided to use the concept of "Dark Energy," the theory of the expansion of the universe that will ultimately rip our galaxy completely apart, the "ultimate night," as the metaphorical starting point. Texts are excerpted from Paul Celan's poem "Engführung," a science book called The Runaway Universe by Don Goldsmith, a science fiction short story entitled "Last Contact" by Stephen Baxter, Isaiah chapter 51 verse 6, and an internet chat room conversation about the 2009 global economic situation."
Mathew Rosenblum and the Rascher Saxophone Quartet have enjoyed a fruitful artistic collaboration going back to the Rascher's 2000 commission of Möbius Loop for saxophone quartet and orchestra. The Rascher later commissioned Rosenblum to create a quartet-only version of Möbius Loop which they have performed frequently since, and which recently received another hearing in Pittsburgh when the Mana Saxophone Quartet performed it in October as part of Music on the Edge.