Prayers for a Feverish Planet

Meditation on a Warming Planet (2020) – Clifton Callendar (United States)

“The way out of climate change is inside each of us.” — Thích Nhất Hạnh

From a human perspective, the warming of the planet is very gradual, yet relentless, a steady progression (accumulation) toward a more chaotic and less hospitable world.

Update from the composer in December 2022: ‘I was inspired by your ambitious project and beautiful performances to extend my work. Meditations on a Warming Planet now includes three movements. The first, my contribution to your project, is now titled “Parched Earth,” and is accompanied by two others, “Atmospheric River” and “Habitat.” ‘ (And verbal update in February 2023: there are currently four movements!)

Ann adds: This piece also utilizes an ostinato “heart beat” motive. It begins rhythmically in a fairly simple way, with the addition of more and more layers and textures as the piece progresses, with long contrapuntal lines spanning many measures. The combination of a long pedal (in fact, one pedal for the entirety of the movement) with the dynamic build up to the peak creates a very effective work.

Clifton Callendar

Often working at the intersection of music and mathematics, Clifton Callender’s compositions have been recognized and performed by the Pacifica Quartet, ‘Tang Quartet, Spark Festival, SEAMUS, International Festival of Electroacoustic Music “Primavera en La Habana,” NACUSA Young Composers Competition, and the American Composers Orchestra Whitaker New Music Reading Sessions, among others, and is recorded on the Capstone, New Ariel, and Navona labels. Recent commissions include Canonic Offerings, for the Bridges Conference on the Arts and Mathematics, gegenschein, for Piotr Szewczyk’s Violin Futura project, and Reasons to Learne to Sing, for the 50th Anniversary of the College Music Society.

He is currently working on Criticalities, commissioned for the 75th commemoration of Chicago Pile-1 (the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear reaction), and a setting of Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner’s poem for the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, Dear Matafele Peinam.

Also active in music theory, Callender has published in Science, Perspectives of New Music, Journal of Music Theory, Music Theory Online, and Intégral and serves on the editorial board of Perspectives of New Music and as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Mathematics and Music. He holds degrees from the University of Chicago, Peabody Conservatory, and Tulane University and is Professor of Composition at Florida State University.

Clifton Callendar