The edge of rain and sea (2012/2014)
for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano



Musical structures using equal temperament can be seen to reveal a common genealogy with forms based on the frequency continuum (i.e. harmonic series) by treating both as concrete, aural artefacts. This allows such apparently opposing types of material to coexist within one compositional framework. These objects – one, a synthetic compound, an abstract division of pitch space; the other naturally occurring and infinite – are therefore rendered transparent and transformable in similar ways. That is, they grow, decay, modulate and infiltrate each other in a syntactical manner based on their audible reality rather than a dysfunctional logic.

What interests me in a musical context is how one can transform such materials from one state into another. Hence the ‘Edge’ in my title refers to the point at which one object undergoes a metamorphosis and becomes the other – where our perceptions shift from the ‘coming from’ to the ‘going to’.

This sense of transformation is most noticeably represented by the moulding of phrases as they are propelled towards the briefly heard rhythmic repeats of the equal tempered figures, and away from them. The music has a feeling of becoming or dissolving - of evolving. At the local level the material is bound together by means of a fractal analogy which captures the essence of both the motivic fragments and the harmonic processes. The overall structure is defined by means of self similar miniaturised re-tellings of the formal scheme.

This plan is intersected with linear processes and moments of refrain that break the formal discourse and allow intuition to govern the overall shape. The work therefore moves between the extremes of the textural and the figural (or the cloud and the rhythmically emphatic), the seemingly random and the highly organised, the sustained and the frenetic; but always from the perspective that we are transforming objects cut from the same rock. The final section confirms this singularity with a crystallisation of the figural material finally revealed to reside within the frequency-based gesture, and vice-versa.