for flute, clarinet, violin, bass, piano, trombone, and electronics
Composer: Keith Kirchoff
Irrational Rationalities (2015) is loosely inspired by Alvin Loving’s painting Rational Irrationalism (1969).Loving was a cubist painter who concentrated on spatial illusionism, and at first glance, his painting appears to be a series of simple hexagonal shapes intertwined with each other. However, upon closer examination, one begins to see the irrational nature of the work, as none of the lines actually create completed shapes. Much like an M. C. Escher print, a line that at first appears to be the top of a shape is later seen as the bottom, or the side. The lines in Loving’s painting interact with each other and themselves, creating a series of illogical geometric shapes.
Irrational Rationalities explores a similar play but from the opposite direction. The piece is comprised of three distinct thematic ideas, all of which are perfectly rational in isolation: an invented folk tune; weaving polyrhythmic polyphony; and violent – almost cubist – chords. These three thematic ideas are then irrationally layered upon each other and taken out of context, challenging the notion of passive listening.
Irrational Rationalities was commissioned by and written for ensemble mise-en.