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spider picture Cosmosis - wind ensemble, solo soprano, women's voices (22')

Premiere: February 25, 2005, Carnegie Hall, NYC

goview an exerpt from the
Cosmosis: Overboard score

goview an exerpt from the
Cosmosis: The 1st Night score

goview an exerpt from the
Cosmosis: The 2nd Night score

goRead a performer's account of singing Cosmosis.

Cosmosis was created for the talented and inspirational music students at the University of Michigan to tap their boundless imaginations.

The American poet, May Swenson wrote "The Cross Spider" in response to the news of a Skylab experiment in which a student project proposed to see whether a spider could spin a web in space. A common cross spider (araneus diadematus), named Arabella, is mythically portrayed by Swenson. Her shape poem, "Overboard" (a play of gravity) serves as a prelude.

In Cosmosis, "Overboard" plays with musical equivalents of gravitational force following the shapes laid out in the poem, before entering the gravitation-free sea of space. Here, Arabella succeeds in her quest on "The First Night." A musical interlude follows, reflecting on the vastness of space as well as the heroic undertaking. In "The Second Night", Arabella succeeds again... but is sacrificed in the process... "experiment frittered." Yet the resonant energy of the mission still spins in the air, like the soundwaves in space that echo throughout the cosmos, becoming a part of it, and inspiring others.


Cosmosis for wind ensemble, solo soprano and women's voices was commissioned by a consortium organized by Michael Haithcock, Director of Bands at the University of Michigan and including the additional participants: Baylor University (Kevin Sedatole), Florida State University (Patrick Dunnigan), Michigan State University (John Whitwell), University of Texas-Austin (Jerry Junkin).

Cosmosis can be heard on the CD "Brooklyn Bridge" by the University of Michigan Symphony Band. More info here.

"...For many, the highlight of the Conference was Susan Botti's Cosmosis for Wind Ensemble, Soprano and Women's Voices which inhabited a fascinating world, that of the spider, Arabella, who was the subject of an experiment to see if she could, and I suppose, would, weave a web in space. Based on poems by May Swenson, Susan Botti taps an extraordinary variety of sounds and colours, from the winds and from the choir. She herself was the soloist, and this is certainly an imaginative work which deserves more performances."
   -- Tim Reynish, CBDNA 2005 Conference Review

   FL1, FL 2 (dbl Piccolo)
   SOPRANO SAXOPHONE (soloist in last movement)
   2 HORNS in F, 3 TPTS in C
      1) drums (i.e. Chinese toms), cymbals, lg. frame drum (w/ jingles),
          slapstick, shaker, tam
      2) drums, cymbals, woodblock, slapstick, cabasa/shaker, saw,
          crotale (high C), bow
      3) vibraphone, glockenspiel, bow
   TIMPANI (also small metal plate suspended)
   WOMEN's CHORUS (20-60)

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