6-11-2014 Syanesthesia Suite – Joe Puglia (violin) – Slagwerk Den Haag – Kate Moore (electronics)

Fern (2013), commissioned by The Australia Council for the Arts, for percussion, violin and electronics is performed by Slagwerk Den Haag and violinist Joe Puglia. A Fern is an enchanting plant, ancient and universal. Its fronds overlap with intricate self-similar patterns, expanding and contracting. The ever-increasing crosshatch fibres are like feathers or wings depicted through phrases of outward and inward movements. They drift across one another, a choreography weaving three-dimensional impressions of buoyant leaves upon an undulating breeze. With a lineage reaching to the dawn of time, ferns inhabit the forest floor. Here it is dark, cool, rich and fertile, a place in which to hide one’s treasures and one’s secrets. Here is nature’s cloak of invisibility.


Heather (2014), commissioned by Julian Burnside QC, for violin, stone, metal and wood, alludes to a wild hedge of purple flowers that grows in patterns marking the lines where an ancient building once stood. Inspired by ancient and medieval ruins scattered across the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, the piece explores the underlying layers of internal structures buried beneath the external evolution of melodies, harmony and rhythmic patterns. The piece is rich in resonant textures that intertwine and slowly rotate like undergrowth as it gradually overtakes a ruined wall.


Synaesthesia Suite (2014), commissioned by The Ben Remkes Cultuur Fonds, for violin and electronics, is a genre-defying, multi-media performance for violin and 8 channel electroacoustic installation that searches for a vision of reality that transcends the darkness of encroaching doom in search of a glimmer of utopian light. It is one of a series of pieces exploring the correlation between the nature of instruments and temperament. The piece, takes the form of a dance suite, in four sections harking back to the tradition of renaissance and baroque music. In so doing, temperament and tonality and the geometry and proportion of strings, draws a link between the physiology and physiognomy of the human body and universal cosmology, outlining the synergy between science, art, nature and culture.


The body of work aims to re-evaluate ancient and classical philosophy from a contemporary perspective, linking the temperament of humours to qualities found in contemporary music and modern technology. The folio draws on research into a synaesthetic link between music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy, the elemental forces of earth, air, fire and water, humour theory pertaining to the temperaments phlegmatic, choleric, sanguine and melancholic, sources of natural electricity production including magnetic, solar, wind and hydraulic power. This body of work addresses the notion that universal harmony may ensue through the balance of the humours in such a way that will reunite music and its effect on the body, architecture and how it informs experience, nature and the way in which it shapes culture.


The work demonstrates the concept that music and the installation’s design, through science and the imagination, correspond directly to the human body and soul. Humour theory and aspects of tonality in music, measured by frequency, the length and weight of strings and acoustic bodies, resonate with the human body and the balance of energies within a living being.


By embracing the traditions of music from an ancient past steeped in a world-view linked directly with the earth, the body and the universe, contemporary values of progress and rationalism become one with a respect for the surrounding environment. By linking historical instrument design, employing instruments such as the violin, with new concepts of alternative performance installation and spatial electroacoustic sound design and sculpture, vivid future possibilities emerge and take shape in unexpected ways that create a dialogue and directions of their own.