Into the Labyrinth






2(p)2( 1111 | 1211 | 3 perc | narrator, tenor/guitars, drum set

premiered by

University of Michigan Student Ensemble

commissioned by

Rojo and Gould

Into the Labyrinth


MOVEMENT ONE: From free fall to increasing entropy

As I sit here, in the middle of the night, asleep, not asleep, dreaming while awake, so many mysteries of the universe remain hidden: unseen, unheard, un-thought of.
“the people moved out, they don’t want to stay, the healthy ones. The noise is over. Listen, if you hear this, the noise has long died down, you missed it, now no one makes any noise for you, except in your ears, if you let it in. It is all over. So now you insist on making lots of noise but this one too will resist. What was the dance floor at the center, is now at the center of something else, empty. You expect noise from me, music, concrete, commands, commotion. Tell me where, from where?”

What do we know Galileo?

We must look! 

The book of the Universe “stands open before our eyes. It never disappears. But we can not understand it without first learning to decipher the characters as they are written and to comprehend their language. It is written in mathematical language; its characters are triangles, circles and other geometric figures, which are the key to unlocking its meanings; if we cannot understand these we will remain wandering in a dark labyrinth.”

Galileo Galilei, Il Saggiatore (1623)

“Nature itself, in all her works, in the performance of which employs the first, simplest, and easiest means.”

Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning 

the Two Chief World Systems (1632)

But maybe we human beings do not even exist? Many objects that we postulated through theoretical means turned out to be non-existent sooner or later, like electro-magnetic ether or the notion of heat as some sort of matter. So maybe we don’t exist either? Our values are so contradictory. Such a thing as we are cannot possibly exist. That would be an offense against the values that created us, an offense against the aesthetic sensibility of our creators and furthermore an offense against the interpreters who want to tell us who we are and what we have done, so that we can be re-evaluated and re-classified. And then when it seemed that we were to remain in the dark, Isaac, the natural philosopher, emerged from the Great Plague:


“Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest, or on uniform motion in a straight line, unless it is compelled to change its state by forces impressed.”


“A change in motion is proportional to the motive force impressed; and takes place along the straight line in which that force is impressed.”Newton, almost out of nothing, out of an era of witchcraft and sorcery, comes up with the mathematics of the universe, he comes up with a theory of almost everything.


“To any action there is always an opposite and equal reaction; In other words the actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal and always opposite in direction.

Isaac Newton, Philosophiæ Naturalis

Principia Mathematica (1687)

What do we know Claussius?

We can prove that, because of the atomic movement in systems consisting of many atoms “All transformations occurring in Nature may take place in a certain direction [only]” In fact, there are two fundamental magnitudes, one called energy, and the other “I have called Entropy:

ONE, “The energy of the universe is constant

TWO, The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum”

Rudolf Clausius, “Concerning Several Conveniently 

Applicable Forms for the Main Equations 

of the Mechanical Heat Theory” (1865)

“Nothing” could be repeated and revived at random. It would remain a Nothing, but could be repeated over and over again; a repeatable chaos until we would no longer know if it was the same or if it had become another chaos already.

MOVEMENT TWO: From Electromagnetism to Relative time

We would have to improvise, and produce again and again and technology would also have to reproduce again and again. Technology is waiting to take anything we produce, it will rip it out of our hands, it will take it without looking at it, it doesn’t care, it repeats what we throw it, what we present, and then it repeats something else which, nonetheless, will be the same as the earlier one. Technology doesn’t care what it repeats, until it’s all the same, absolutely the same, one and the same.

But back to the search.

What do we “know my dear Maxwell?”

What you “see” in the dark is what you get!

What else?

What else?

Maxwell determined through deduction the velocity of propagation of waves of electricity and magnetism to be 193,088 miles per second.

Monsieur Fizeau determined by direct experiment the velocity of light is curiously 193,118 miles per second-nearly the same as deduced by Maxwell.

Almost indistinguishable! The coincidence is not merely numerical--light is a wave of electricity and magnetism, an electromagnetic wave.

“All the elements emitting such radiation I have termed radioactive, and the new property of matter revealed in this emission has thus received the name radioactivity.”

Marie Curie, Nobel Lecture (1911)

How unlikely that something like us is even qualified to exist! Too bad! We were so much looking forward to us! What we wish for is never sufficient, whereas the earth is already more than sufficient. Enough to go around and then she goes for even more, she is quite shameless how far she goes, spreading out, elbowing out everything that’s in her way, probably swallowing even the tones which we sighed into the strings, well, we really wanted to play softly from the start. But inaudibly? That’s going too far. It makes no difference though, even if we press down the bow with a bang, it can’t be heard.

What do we know Dr. Einstein?

Listen to this. It is known, by some, that Maxwell’s theory of electrodynamics, as usually understood, when applied to moving bodies leads to asymmetries which do not appear to be inherent to the phenomena.

This leads to the following based on the principle of relativity and on the principle of the constancy of the velocity of light.

1. Relativity: The laws by which the states of physical systems undergo change are not affected, whether these changes of state be referred to the one or the other of two systems of co-ordinates in uniform translatory motion.

2. The constancy of the Velocity of Light: Any ray of light moves with velocity c, whether the ray be emitted by a stationary or by a moving body, hence... Electric and magnetic forces are not separate, but different manifestations of the same thing!

Albert Einstein, On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies (1905)

text and translations:


Alberto Rojo and Pedro Aznar

En la frontera
no hay nada que separe
sólo una fuerza
Mi cuerpo es esta danza
de cargas que se enredan

Lo que se atrae
y lo que se repele
son uno solo
Me canto y me celebro
y soy tú, que es lo mismo

Río de perlas
soga que anuda al mundo
eres misterio
Hasta la luz te nombra
viaja a tu mismo tempo

Los que has amado
chispas del mismo fuego
que arde en tus manos
Velas del mismo viento
donde los mundos vuelan

Música antigua
tono que trae y lleva
hilo de oro
Ave de mil colores
somos tu melodía


Translated by Alberto Rojo

On the frontier
there is nothing to separate
just a force
My body is this dance
of entangled charges

What attracts
and what repels
they are one
I sing and celebrate myself
and I am you, which is the same

Pearl river
rope that ties the world
you are mystery
Even the light names you
travels at your very tempo

The ones you have loved
are sparks of the same fire
that burns in your hands
Candles of the same wind
where worlds fly

Ancient music
tone that brings and carries
Golden string
Bird of a thousand colors
we are your melody.

MOVEMENT THREE: From the Certain to Uncertain

Now, what about this riddle?

If music is time, now it must be half-time, only no one announces it to us, it doesn’t appear on any board and no one sends us off the field. And we don’t even hear half the tones, not to be confused with the half-tones we produce. And our quarter- and eighth-notes: What are they to do then? They are out of time.

Compared to the half-life time, our time is worth nothing at all. Yes, maybe this is why we hear nothing anymore, because the half-life time has already hurried far ahead of us into the future?

In ten thousand years, perhaps, one will hear a soloist’s half-tone, and half the tones out of us, the orchestra! Yes, the note values, which kept us busy for so long, as if nothing else existed.

What do we know Dr Planck?

How is this possible? “Either the quantum of action was a fictional quantity, or the derivation of the radiation law was based on a sound physical conception. Here was something entirely new, never before heard of, which seemed called upon to basically revise all our physical thinking.”

Max Planck, Nobel Lecture (1920)

song texts:

The moon looks at me
When I dare to close my eyes
Will it still be there?

Is this curious light
That hits me one at a time
Just an illusion?

Particle or wave
something lacks in our diction
or is it fiction?

Could a flower talk
and change you at a distance

Our tones were already produced by Pluto maybe 24,000 years, 40,000 years half-life ago––what do I know, I am shortsighted not farsighted, about now they should gradually come out of us, they should have learned that in the meantime.

“The two mental pictures- the one of the particles, the other of the waves - are both incomplete and have only the validity of analogies. Analogies cannot be pushed too far, yet they might be used to describe things for which our language has no words.”

So it must be right! The second tone sounded much louder than the first, putting it mildly, it still sounded right, but after that I heard nothing anymore, nothing at all. Only the two. Did they get entangled, or could they have even been devoured? Were they put into a superposition state, even if just for a few dozen milliseconds? Does the state of my tone stand firm in the air? Firm enough for you to pick it up?

 Wermer Heisenberg, The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory (1949)

MOVEMENT FOUR: From Atoms to Dark Matter

At any rate, no matter how much we bow, what is coming is exactly: nothing. We are the consequence of a sequence... of a sequence... of a sequence. There will be no more sequels. Nothing to be continued. And after us nothing left to sequence either.

What do we know Lucretius?
“Everything is made of atoms.
as seeds of things
By innate motion chanced to clash and cling-”
Lucretius: On the Nature of Things (first-century BC)

That is the key hypothesis.

After they'd been in many a manner driven
Together at random, without design-In vain.

“Everything that animals do, atoms do.”
Richard Feynman, The Feynman Lectures on Physics (1961)

What do we know Dr. Feynman?

“Trees are primarily made of air. When they are burned, they go back to air, and in that flaming heat is released the flaming heat of the Sun which was bound in to convert the air into tree. And in the ash is the small remnant of the part which did not come from air, that came from the solid earth, instead.”

Richard Feynman, What is Science? (1969)

What do we know Dr Rubin? 

“I live and work with three basic assumptions,

1. There is no problem in science that can be solved by a man that cannot be solved by a woman.
2.Worldwide, half of all brains are in women.
3.We all need permission to do science, but, for reasons that are deeply ingrained in history, this permission is more often given to men than to women.”

Vera Rubin, Bright Galaxies, Dark Matters (1996)

How the stars move tells us that most matter in the universe is dark. When we see stars in the sky, we're only seeing five or ten percent of the matter that is in the universe.

We have peered into a new world and have seen that it is more mysterious and more complex than we had imagined. Still more mysteries of the universe remain hidden. Their discovery awaits the adventurous scientists of the future. I like it this way-

Finding our way through the labyrinth.

text and translations:


Luis Pescetti, lyrics

Yo aprendí a guardar
el Sol en mí.
Soy aire que ha viajado
un grano de sal robado.
Soy una nube verde
de viento atrapado. 

Yo aprendí a guardar
el Sol en mí.
Yo creo en la luz
y creo en la salvación
del aire lleno de barcos
que vienen llenos de Sol. 

el Sol al Sol,
esa es la ley del calor.
sólo tu aliento
mi silbido y lo que siento. 

Cuando el viento entre
mis ramas va
veo que se sorprende
de ser aire en tierra extraña
convertido en madera.
hasta mañana.

Y si el fuego desata
el aire al fin,
quedará el recorrido:
barcos, cunas, guitarras,
el racimo de tantos
hechos que hicimos.


Translated Alberto Rojo

I learned to keep
The sun in me.
I am air that has traveled
A grain of stolen salt.
I am a green cloud
of trapped wind.

When the air goes 
in between my branches 
I see that he is surprised
of being wind in a strange land
turned into wood
until tomorrow.

Give back the sun 
back to the sun,
That is the law of heat.
just your breath
My whistle and what I feel.

I learned to keep
The sun in me.
I believe in light
and I believe in salvation
of the air full of boats
that come full of sun
And if the fire unleashes
the air at last,
The tour will remain:
boats, cribs, guitars,
the bunch of so many
facts we did


Into the Labyrinth (2022) …
— Notes by Andrea Reinkemeyer
These notes may be used freely with proper attribution.