Harrison, Bryn (2006) Shifting Light (7 minutes). [Composition]

Shifting Light, for full orchestra, was commissioned for and premiered by the London Symphony Orchestra, as part of the
London Symphony Orchestra’s Sound Adventures scheme.

The research questions posed in this work manifest themselves through the exploration of a musical gestalt and the direct
phenomenology of sound. The work considers how perception of time is altered when the levels of residual change from one
moment to the next are dramatically reduced. This follows earlier research into the nature of time and in particular the use of
compositional processes that allow a piece to change gradually over a prolonged period of time (see Rise (2002) and I–V
(2004)). Shifting Light adheres to a strict compositional process whereby a single pitch is removed every 30 seconds, leading to
a situation in which it is only possible to perceive what has changed in the music some time after its occurrence.

The piece also explores musical time though the use of high levels of repetition (presented as a series of dense canons),
drawing on the Deleuzian pretext (as outlined by Hume) that repetition changes nothing in the object itself but does change
something in the mind that contemplates it. Near repetition and exact repetition operate in close proximity throughout the piece
and provide points of orientation and disorientation for the listener.

The use of a highly reductive palette also draws on a continuing interest in visual art and in particular the monochrome paintings
of the American abstract painter Brice Marden, the light sculptures of James Turrell and the work of Northumbrian painter
James Hugonin. The research aspect of this interest is illustrated by the extensive collaborative work the composer has
undertaken with painter and print-maker Mike Walker, culminating in a multimedia installation during the tEXt festival, Exeter,

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