Surface-bound takes inspiration from Emeritus Professor David Cole-Hamilton's re- imagining of the periodic table. When I initially read Professor Cole-Hamilton's research, I was alarmed by the knowledge that we are rapidly exhausting our supplies of some vital, non-renewable elements. However, when I spoke with Professor Cole-Hamilton, he presented simple, actionable solutions showing a clear path forward. The piece reflects this course of developing awareness, reflecting and celebrating the pathways towards the future.
The opening of the work reflects the diversity and richness of our current world, created by the interactions of the ninety elements of the periodic table. In this section, active musical gestures combine, fragment, interact and are recycled in new forms. Gradually these gestures become more sustained and the vibrancy of the opening section gives way to more introspective material, providing a moment to reflect and contemplate the implications of inaction. The final section of the work presents a new reality. One that is as rich and diverse as the world we know, but different. The musical material is treated differently, leading to a new sonic landscape. The final gesture of the work is unresolved and questioning, inviting the listener to imagine the possibilities of the future.
Surface-bound was commissioned by the St Andrews New Music Ensemble to celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table.