Aberrare (Casting)

Martin Arnold

Aberrare (Casting)

  • Martin Arnold
  • Year of composition: 2004, 09
  • Duration: 22:42
  • Instrumentation: string quartet
  • Commission: Quatuor Bozzini

In English, an aberration is a deviation from what is normal, expected, or usual. However, its Latin root, aberrare, has a less dialectic, evaluative connotation: it means “to wander away.” Perhaps “aberrare (casting)” is music that wanders away (then maybe wanders back a bit, then maybe wanders beside). But I also hope it is music that one can wander away into and with and wander away from (then maybe wander back a bit, then maybe wander beside) — not as any kind of escape but more like the Situationist International’s idea of drifting, the dérive, a term they coined to suggest a “technique of transient passage through varied ambiances. The dérive entails playful-constructive behaviour and awareness of psychogeographical effects; which completely distinguishes it from the classical notions of the journey and the stroll.” “Casting” is one of those English words that enfold what seem to be almost contradictory meanings, in this case to throw (sometimes off or away) or to expel or to shed or to drop; or to shape something molten into a form using a mould or by having it envelope another shape. The music of “aberrare (casting)” is certainly not casting; but if a listener is inclined to cast, I hope she/he embraces all of the potential (contradictory) actions implied by that term and keeps wandering while these embraces are being enacted. And I definitely hope she/he always follows any forming or shaping with throwing away, shedding and/or dropping.


  • April 7, 2005, Bozzini QuartetConcert de saison II, Chapelle Saint-Louis — Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Montréal (Québec)
Martin Arnold talks about his pieces Aberrare (Casting), contact;vault, and Éistphéist; In English; Sunday, November 22, 2020
  • 1, 2:20
  • 2, 2:16
  • 3, 2:42
  • 4, 15:24