Christian Mason’s "Eternity in an hour" receives world premiere by Wiener Philharmoniker


Christian Mason takes a brief break from his Villa Concordia residency in Bamberg this week for the world premiere of his latest symphonic composition Eternity in an hour. The work will be premiered by its commissioner, the illustrious Wiener Philharmoniker under the baton of Christian Thielemann, in concerts at the Musikverein Vienna on 27 and 28 April, and the Berlin Dom on 2 May.

Eternity in an hour is the second part of Christian's orchestral cycle Time and Eternity, a cycle of three works for orchestra inspired by philosophical and poetic reflections. The first part, Eternal Return, commissioned by Breitkopf & Härtel to celebrate its 300th anniversary, was premiered in January 2019 by the hr-sinfonieorchester under Michal Nesterowicz, with the third part, However long a time may pass... All things must yet meet again..., to be premiered in June 2020 by the Berlin Konzerthausorchester with Christoph Eschenbach at the helm.

Of Eternity in an hour, Christian writes:

"As the title (taken from a line in William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence) implies I am interested in the paradoxical possibility that ‘eternity’ - an extraordinary state of ‘non-time’ - could exist, might sometimes suddenly appear, within the flow of time which defines our normal experience of being alive. I think that is what William Blake is getting at when he says:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour

Each line conveys immensity contained within the minuscule, the emergence of the remarkable from the ordinary, the transcendence of the quotidian: the potential ecstasy of a shift in perception."