'you look, craning, twisting, but nothing works, because Lavoisier's mirrors, whether concave or convex, disappoint you, mock you. You step back, find yourself for a moment, but move a little and you are lost [in] this catoptric theatre...'
(Umberto Eco 'Foucault's Pendulum, p.13)
‘Lavoisier’s Mirrors’ was the final and largest-scale piece that I wrote during my Masters course at the Royal College of Music, and received 2nd prize in the International Lutoslawski Competition 2013 marking the composer's 100 year anniversary.
The passage above from ‘Foucault’s Pendulum’ describes the French scientist Antoine Lavoisier’s collection of mind-bending mirrors, and provided a great deal of inspiration for me reflected both in the mysterious atmosphere of the piece as a whole, and in the music’s formal construction.
As time progresses musical figures appear at first distorted, refracted and blurred within large, whirling orchestral textures, until they are suddenly revealed as sharp-edged, crystal-clear objects. These fleeting moments of rhythmic, harmonic and timbral clarity struggle to break through increasingly dense textures, constantly slipping out of reach to lead us down new, unexpected paths...