(for tape)

Europa (1997) (for tape)

Graham Hadfield

City University


Europa is one of a group of four pieces whose titles are the names of the largest moons of Jupiter. The composer used, as an impetus for composition, descriptions of the natures of the four satellites Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa, named here in order of size from the largest to the smallest. The durations of the pieces reflect the relative proportions of the satellites: Ganymede has the longest duration (largest moon) and Europa has the shortest (smallest moon). The listener is free to construct a synaesthesic image from the music which might have some supposable correspondences with the moons' descriptions, but the pieces are not intended to be superficial imaginary soundscapes of the moon's environments. The composer allows his repertory of sonic material to include more abstract, and remote surrogate sounds (sounds surrogated from their acoustic causal source). In describing briefly the nature of Europa (the satellite) below, the listener is informed of a small, although significant, part of the poiesis of the piece. Although it is impossible for the composer directly to communicate the description through the acousmatic medium (without recourse to human-uttered language) it is likely that vestiges of the composer's poietic image induced by the description will have resonances in the listener's esthesis. One might say that a correlation, albeit intangible, could occur between the poietic image and the esthesic image; the composer's image and the listener's image respectively. Whilst it is not possible for the listener to experience the composer's image in esthesis, by detailing what is, in part, the cause of the poietic image, the listener is given freedom to construct an esthesic image which, itself in part, has the same cause as that of the poietic. Europa has a very bright, frozen crust. In some parts it consists of small hills, and in others it consists of long cracks, some of which are curved and others which are straight. It is conjectured that there might be a liquid, warm ice ocean beneath the thin water ice crust, and there might also exist water geysers.