The Idea of Cosmic Music in Vytautas Bacevičius’s Composition Graphique, Op. 68 (1964)

  • Yusuke Ishii
Keywords: Vytautas Bacevičius, graphic score, sonorism, cosmic music, Edgard Varèse


The article discusses the musical idea of Vytautas Bacevičius, which he called “cosmic music”. The composer put it forward in the 1960s–1970s, i.e., in the latest period of his life. During this period, he composed the orchestral work Graphique, op. 68. The article aims to reveal how his idea of cosmic music manifests itself in the aforementioned work. Bacevičius used a graphic score in the process of composition of the work. By using it, the composer aimed to transcend the conventional way of musical representation and to realise his idea of cosmic music. Various factors that are implicated, such as Adomas Galdikas’s (1893–1969) painting, Edgard Varèse’s (1883–1965) music, Claude Bragdon’s (1866–1946) philosophy, should also be taken into account. The analysis of Graphique shows explicitly that these factors are closely related to the means of composition used in the work, i.e., sonoristic textures. They reveal not only Bacevičius’s attention to timbres and acoustics, but also the synaesthetic idea, which can be considered a manifestation of his cosmic music.