Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman

George Lesser spent his life measuring Gothic cathedrals and hypothesizing about the geometric forms medieval master builders used to proportion their designs.  He published his findings in the book Gothic Cathedrals and Sacred Geometry.  My piece is based on Lesser’s rendering of his hypothesized geometric shapes overlaid on the floor plan of Chartres Cathedral inFrance.  On one level, the music is a programmatic journey through the cathedral, starting with the massive exterior and ending in the clerestory stained glass.  On another level, it is a celebration of the idea that a simple, unseen logic can generate the complexities that which is visible.  The last half of the piece is built by a process in which the placement of each note is determined by a cycling series of chords.  While the series generates all the layers of music that add up, it itself remains inaudible until the piece’s final moments.

Andrew Norman is the 58th composer to be commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony as part of its First Music series of orchestral works by the nation's most outstanding young composers.

Commission Information

Sacred Geometry
Commissioned for: 

Related Concert

December 7, 2003