A catastrophe may be defined as an occurrence which changes an already existing state.
Catastrophes, large and small, can be executed in many ways and two brands particularly interest me. The first (‘cusp’) is that open ended sort which allows for subsequent reappearance of the original state, such as the boiling of a kettle of water. The second (‘fold’) is a more final brand allowing for no revertion at all and is the direct cause of a new ongoing state, for example when a china plate is smashed.
GRANITE, the fifth orchestral piece of my residency with the RLPO, uses this rudimentary notion of catastrophe theory to proceed from beginning to end.
Different bits of musical material are set up, altered slightly or altered beyond recognition, pushed out of the way only to recur identically later on, chopped into fragments, sown together to produce something else or obliterated once and for all.
Harmonically, texturally and instrumentally I wanted to create a sense of establishing, a sense of loss and a sense of no sense at all. Therefore the sweetness of C major is foiled by violent discord, rampant polyphony butts in on simple melody and accompaniment, motorised neo-baroque rolls in on controlled romanticism, traditional structures are met by the flippancy of high camp.