A STUDY OF PASSING OBJECTS IN AN ACCELERATING LANDSCAPE
Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra 31st March 2022
as part of the Panufnik Composers' Scheme 2020/22
Written for the London Symphony Orchestra through the LSO Discovery Panufnik Composers
Scheme, generously supported by Lady Hamlyn and the Helen Hamlyn Trust.
Historian Wolfgang Schivelbusch describes how our perception of space, time and distance
changes during railway travel,* resulting in the smearing of foreground detail and a new focus on the
slow-moving topology of the horizon. My composition is a perspectival study of passing objects in
this accelerating landscape.
The piece contains a number of spatiosonic metaphors, starting with a cross section which cuts
through the entire landscape (the music) before the journey begins. A gradual acceleration follows,
where objects in the landscape pass at increasing speeds. The objects’ approach is represented by
ascending and intensifying musical motifs which descend as they disappear behind us, sometimes
staggered in time, to simulate the parallax of our movement relative to objects as they stretch from
foreground to background. At the start, the variety and detail of the foreground colours the music.
As we accelerate, this detail becomes smeared and lost: the harmonic complexity diminishes and our
focus eventually converges on the horizon line: a two-note drone
READ MORE ON THE LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA BLOG HERE