Inspired by the life and work of Giordano Bruno

For electric guitar, violin, double bass, recorders, voice, percussion, clarinet, trombone and piano



The Nolan's Supper (2004) is a composition for piano, clarinet, trombone, electric guitar, violin, double bass, recorder, singer, percussion and fixed media. It is inspired on the life and work of Giordano Bruno.

The composition is divided in 4 sections: 3 chapters and an epilogue. The text for the first chapter is the introductory poem to Giordano Bruno's La Cena de le ceneria, one of his important writing and one of the first works in which Copernican theory had impact outside the sphere of natural sciences. The text of the second chapter are letters that come from one of the tables that conclude De triplici minimo et mensura one of Bruno's texts in mathematics. Bruno went further than Copernican theory to come up with the idea that the universe had not one centre but that it was infinite. In this book he tried to develop a mathematical doctrine that could explain the infinite universe including atomism. He sustained that Euclidean geometry and trigonometry could not link mathematical entities and the natural world. The book ends abruptly with the tables I chose. Their program remains nebulous but it is contemplated that they were used to exercise and develop techniques in the Art of Memory. The third chapter is instrumental and uses sounds that evoke the methods in which Bruno was tortured prior to his burning at the stake. Finally, the text for the epilogue is the first of three sonnets that belong to Bruno's the Cabala del cavallo pegaseo. In the "Sonnet in Praise of the Ass", Bruno praises the simple minded, unquestionable attitude of the "learned ignorance" that encourages and does not interfere with Christian faith.

The Nolan’s Supper was written for the Maarten Altena Ensemble (now Ensemble MAE) as part of their America Disconnected project, which also featured newly commissioned compositions by Robert Ashley, Alvin Curran and Allison Cameron. It was premiered by the ensemble conducted by Jussi Jaatinen at the Korzo Theater, The Hague, The Netherlands.

Selected performances

01/12/2004, Maarten Altena Ensemble, Lantaren/Venster, Rotterdam, NL
19/11/2004, Maarten Altena Ensemble, Provadja Theater, Alkmaar, NL
18/11/2004, Maarten Altena Ensemble, Bimhuis, Amsterdam, NL
10/04/2004, Maarten Altena Ensemble, Korzo Theater, The Hague, NL




Full score


The Nolan's Supper performed by the Maarten Altena Ensemble