This work began as an exercise in the use of L-Systems as a compositional tool, inspired by Hanspeter Kyburz’s Cells and Michael Norris’ research into methods of using these patterns. L- Systems are algorithms designed by the biologist Aristid Lindenmayer to imitate natural processes of growth and decay and can be musically interpreted in various ways. Three different L-Systems were used for this work; the example on the following page is that of the first movement. Here, and similarly in the third movement, each letter of the pattern was substituted with a different musical gesture. Using gesture rather than specific motifs allowed more compositional freedom to develop ideas while working within the set pattern. In order to create a more lyrical second movement, I experimented with substituting pitch class sets to the pattern, rather than gestures. As a result, the musical growth that is evident in the other movements is not so clear. No mathematical system can be adhered to precisely without a loss of musicality, hence the L-systems I used quickly became macrostructural. These patterns also reach a point where there is too much self-similarity and they must be abandoned in favour of musical intuition. The title refers to the Fibonacci series. Many L-systems (although not the following example!) bear a relationship to this in the length of each new generation.
The Chorale melody was written by Stravinsky in 1952, as a theme for organ improvisation by Marcel Dupre. I am grateful to Robert Craft and the Stravinsky Estate for permission to use it here. Stravinsky’s melody is played by the first trumpet in each of the three chorale settings. All three are canonic in treatment, with the texture increasing from two parts in Chorale 1 to four parts (plus a tuba bass-line) in Chorale 3. The two Interludes take off from the finale notes of the chorale. In contrast both are quick, with a somewhat Stravinskian rhythmic exhuberance; Interlude 1 is scored for a trio (excluding the two trumpets), Interlude 2 for the full quintet.
1. producing powerful feelings or strong, clear images in the mind
2. (of a colour) intensely deep or bright
3. archaic (of a person or animal) lively and vigorous
origin: mid 17th century, from Latin vividus, from vivere “to live”
Vivid is a response to the poetry of Will Christie, in particular her poem Vivid, an incredibly intense exploration and interrogation of language, sexual politics and identity. I was drawn to the percussive, almost violent sibilance that was “ready in the words”: it suggested to me an explicitly musical setting. The music attempts to create a conversation between text and sound while retaining the narrative, wordplay and multiplicity of meaning inherent in the written poem.