Archimedes codex
[for violin solo and string ensemble]

Michael Oesterle
Michael Oesterle
Composition Date: 2004
Duration: 00:13:30
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, String Orchestra With Soloist, Violin(s)


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 8 x Violin
  • 1 x Violin
  • 3 x Viola
  • 2 x Violoncello
  • 1 x Double bass
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Violin
  • 1 x String orchestra
Programme Note:
Archimedes (287 BC - 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician. The collection of his works, known as the codex, explore the simple but perplexing forms of geometry, and the physics of mass and energy at its most elemental. Inspired by the elegant simplicity of the titles of Archimedes' seminal writings, I composed "Archimedes' Codex" in short movements based on these titles. Each movement reflects the properties of physics of geometry proposed, while creating a synchronous path that constitutes the stages of discovery - from first inspiration to "eureka" to the realization that there is always more to discover.
"Archimedes' Codex" was commissioned by Via Salzburg with financial assistance by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ).

I. On Plane Equilibriums
In On Plane Equilibriums, Archimedes set the fundamental principles of mechanics, uxing the methods of gormetry. He discovered fundamental theorems concerning the centre of gravity of plane figures, specifically those of a parallelogram, a tringle and a trapezium. He also found the centre of gravity of a segment of a parabola.
II. Quadrature of the Parabola
In the Quatrature of the Parabola, archimedes found the area of a segment of a parabola, cut off by any chord. Here, he came very close to the concept of calculus.
III. On the Sphere and Cylinder
In On the Sphere and Cylinder, Archimedes found out that the surface af a sphere is four times that of a great circle, the area of any segment of a sphere, the volume of a sphere is two-thirds the volume of a curcumscribec cylinder and that the surface of a sphere is two-thirds the surface of a curcumscribec cylinder including its basees. His most important feat was to show how to cut a given sphere by a plane so that the ratio of the volumes of the two segments has a prescribed ratio.
IV. On Floating Bodies
On Floating Bodes is the work in which Archimedes put forth the basic principles of hydrostatics. His most famous thorem, which gives the weight of a body immersed in a liquid, called Archimedes' Principle is presented is this work. Archimedes Principle states that the buoyant force on a submerged object is equal to the weight of the fluid that is displaced by the object. In determining whether an object will sink or float in a fluid, both weight and volume should be considered. The relative density or the weight per unit volume of the body compared to the fluid determines the buoyant force.
V. Measurement of the Circle
On the Measurement of the Circle is a fragment of a longer work in which, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a curcle, is shown.
VI. The Sandreckoner
The Sandreckoner is a work in which Archimedes creates the first known (Greek) system of number-naming that can be expanded beyond the needs of everyday life. He attempts to calculate how many grains of sand it would take to fill the khown universe. which, although much smaller than the universe of modern physics, is much larger than most people would suppose.

Premiere Information:
Création le 10 décembre 2004 au Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ; Via Salzburg


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1611 O29arc 2004
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, String Orchestra With Soloist, Violin(s)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • April 12, 2007
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 partition (48 p.) ;
    48 Pages
    Height: 39 cm
    Width: 28 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Pour violon solo et ensemble à cordes (vln1(minimum 4), vln2(minimum 4, alto1-2-3, cello1-2-3, contrebasse).
    Oeuvre en 6 mouvements: I. On plane equilibriums -- II. Quadrature of the parabola -- III. On the sphere and cylinder -- IV. On floating bodies -- V. Measurement of the circle -- VI. The sandreckoner.
    Commande de Via Salzburg, grâce à l'aide du Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ).
    Il existe également un version de cette oeuvre pour violon et orchestre.
    Photocopie; l'original se trouve au CMC Québec.
Request a Repertoire Consultation
Suggest Modification for this Record

Available For:

Available Products for this piece:

TitleDetailsPriceAdd this Product