Alan Hovhaness – Symphony No.19 (1966)


“In Symphony Vishnu I continue to explore my invention of ‘spirit sounds’ or ‘controlled chaos’ first introduced in Lousadzak which I composed in 1944. In Vishnu I develop whirling waves of sounds to their apex of elaboration. ‘Controlled chaos’ is achieved by precise and exact written notes of irregular and varying patterns, played simultaneously at variable speeds. Sometimes the sounds are delicate and mysterious. At other times bells, trombones and trumpets reach climaxes of wild, free sounds circling like orbits of fire”.

“Vishnu symbolizes the creative forces of the galaxies. The symphony suggests the concept of the circulation of divine energies throughout the universes. Wild but controlled chaos bursts out in brass and percussion in free, rhythmless passages, followed by bells. This might symbolize the explosions which take place in the central core of giant galaxies of stars when millions of suns explode simultaneously, throwing out new universes of stars and planetary systems.”


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