Anthony Cheung (1982)

Discrete Infinity (2011)

for ensemble

electronic work

  • General information
    • Composition date: 2011
    • Duration: 12 mn
    • Commission: WDR et Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik pour l'Ensemble Modern
Detailed formation
  • flute, 2 clarinets, horn, trumpet, percussionist, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass

Premiere information

  • Date: 8 May 2011

    Allemagne, Witten, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik


    l'Ensemble Modern, direction : Johannes Kalitzke.

Program note

"For example, the most elementary property of the language faculty is the property of discrete infinity; you have six-word sentences, seven-word sentences but you don't have six-and-a-half-word sentences. Furthermore, there is no limit; you can have ten-word sentences, twenty-word sentences and so on indefinitely. That is the property of discrete infinity. This property is virtually unknown in the biological world. There are plenty of continuous systems, plenty of finite systems but try to find a system of discrete infinity! The only other one that anybody knows is the arithmetical capacity, which could well be some offshoot of the language faculty. The more you go on the more it seems true."
Noam Chomsky, The Architecture of Language

"Language makes infinite use of finite means."
Wilhelm von Humboldt

An infinite paradox: discrete, non-continuous, recursive elements - looped, embedded, etc. - giving way to: [an infinite array of expressive meanings],[...],[...], …rhythms and phrases, built up from or broken down into discrete properties, resulting in strange, unknown combinations, while infinite pitch networks, arising from singular/discrete sources - a single fundamental and its branches of overtones - share and propagate new, limitless overtone pitch space…

Anthony Cheung, avril 2011.