About the Piece
Fiat Lux is not only Daniel Farrell’s farewell to Jacksonville University, but also an exploratory epic about creation itself. “Fiat Lux” is the Jacksonville University Latin motto and is commonly translated as “Let There be Light”. In this sense, the music tries to evoke the process of creation within the universe.
The opening Prelude creates an ethereal and primitive setting meant to depict the universe prior to the explosion of existence. The Prelude is interrupted by The Big Bang and the universe springs to life with turmoil and ferocity. The second movement, The Gift of Life, explores the beauty and magnificence of life and the ability to love. It is followed by the harsh and ferocious third movement, The Curse of Death and Lament for its Victims. As death eventually takes all things, it was appropriate to follow it with a musical exploration of the material of the second movement in a more mournful approach. The third movement was initially supposed to be dedicated to the victims of the Las Vegas Shooting Massacre that occurred during the writing of the symphony, however because another shooting (the Texas Church Shooting) sadly occurred so recently after (and still before the completion of the work) the third movement is instead dedicated to the 13,975 victims of gun violence in the United States from the beginning of 2017 to the completion of this work. The last movement, Let There be Light (the English translation of “Fiat Lux”) evokes the brilliance and overall majesty of the universe, as both its light and darkness are part of an ever-greater shifting of time. The movements are played without pauses in between to create an unbroken emotional journey for the listeners.
Fiat Lux is comprised of only a few musical ideas. It contains three central rhythmic motifs: A four-note percussive rhythm named “The Knock”, meant to evoke the idea of destiny knocking for the universe’s inhabitants. A metronomic ticking named “Time”, meant to evoke the passage of time within the universe. A repeated two-note rhythm named “The Heart”, meant to evoke a heartbeat of not only people, but of the heart of the universe itself. Fiat Lux contains two main thematic ideas introduced and derived from the opening material of the work. The subordinate theme, explored mostly in the second and third movements, is the theme of “Life” and evokes the beauty of life. The central theme of the entire symphony is the Alma Mater of Jacksonville University, On the Banks of the Wide St. Johns (George Sackman & William Hoskins). This is the theme of “Light” and not only depicts the joy and wonder of the universe, but also the brilliance of Jacksonville University and its wonderful students and faculty to whom Daniel Farrell gives this work to.
Originally Commissioned for the Jacksonville University Orchestra in fulfillment of the Delius Award in Composition
Great for large scale collegiate ensembles to perform longer contemporary works.