Perelandra, by Samuel Pellman


a composition of digital sounds
in two channels

duration - 11'27" 

Here are a few audio clips from the piece:

  • from Phrase 3, an mp3 File (1 MB, 66 seconds)
  • from Phrase 4, an mp3 File (948 K, 60 seconds)
  • from Phrase 5, an mp3 File (460 K, 29 seconds)
  • from Phrase 8, an mp3 File (1.2 MB, 82 seconds)
  • from Phrase 9, an mp3 File (1.4 MB, 95 seconds)


Perelandra  was inspired by the C. S. Lewis book of that title, in which he vividly describes the colors, aromas, and other sensations of the seas, floating islands, and mountain meadows of an Eden-like planet Venus. The textures and timbres of this piece were not intentionally conceived to be reminiscences of this imaginary Venus, but it occurred to me as the creation of the piece was underway that this was how it was turning out. To enable a solo performer to weave these rich and intricate textures, a computer is employed to "listen" to the patterns the musician plays at the beginning of the piece. Subsequently, as the musician plays designated "hot" keys, the computer creates variations of these patterns, thus providing a background for the performance of newer patterns by the musician. The computer then creates variations of these new patterns, and the piece proceeds to the point where the computer is enabled to take over very nearly the entire performance, as if the musician is being assisted by unseen companions.


Perelandra  was conceived as a live-performance piece for a soloist performing on a MIDI keyboard controller, a malletKat controller, or a wind controller. The MIDI messages generated by the performer's actions on the controller are processed and interpreted by a fairly large MAX patch. Among the functions of this MAX patch are the recording, modification, and subsequent replay of continuous controller and pitch bend contours performed early in the piece. The MAX patch also records melodic patterns performed early in the piece and generates variations based on second-order Markov probabilities. The sounds heard in this piece are synthesized by a Kurzweil K2500RS with patches designed by the composer and based on waveshaping and similar distortion synthesis techniques.

Biographical information about the composer can be found here. 
Perelandra is published by the Continental Music Press.
copyright 2002 Samuel Pellman. All Rights Reserved. 

To obtain performance materials or for further information, contact: .