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The appearance of colour


The appearance of colour was composed for a performance in a Cathedral and is filled with the serene grandeur of those buildings. This extraordinary piece is essentially a chord of around 25 notes that takes 8 minutes to build up from a single slowly rocking A to G. Even recording it, painstakingly note by note, trying to find exactly the right colour and beginning for each sound in the chord, I was amazed by the simple power of musical harmony. The great skill in the composition of the piece is obviously the choice of notes, which could so easily make an incomprehensible soup, whereas the magnificence of the soundscape at the end seems to express something universal (the appearance of colour as light?) and beyond everyday human experience.

It is also all about vibration: from the tiniest—the bow hair exciting the string with its thousands of minute fibres, the vibration of vibrato on a single note; a two-note figure rocking backwards and forwards; all the differently shaded chords throughout the piece—to the huge seven-octave-span vibration at the end. Best enjoyed in a darkened and quiet room at a moment of the day when nothing at all is pressing on your mind.

from notes by Matthew Barley © 2010


Metcalfe: Constant filter & other works
Studio Master: SIGCD207Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 15 on SIGCD207 [8'31] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD207 track 15

Recording date
1 January 2010
Recording venue
The Home Studio, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Raphaël Mouterde
Recording engineer
Mike Hatch
Hyperion usage
  1. Metcalfe: Constant filter & other works (SIGCD207)
    Disc 1 Track 15
    Release date: April 2010
    Download only
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