Growth is form

For solo carillon (Domtoren, Utrecht)

For Robyn Holmes

Commissioned by the Gaudeamus Festival, in The Netherlands

I am captivated by bells as sound, symbol and structure. This piece uses the Steinhaus-Johnson-Trotter algorithm, an algorithm for creating patterns long known to bell-ringers and sometimes referred to as the “plain changes”, to subtly and constantly vary repeating phrases. The plain changes create every possible ordering of a series while only ever changing the position of two elements (i.e. notes) in each repetition. The form of the piece grows entirely out of letting these changes ‘ring’. This idea of form emerging through growth, as a biological principle, is something of recurring interest to my compositional approach.


The piece is dedicated to Robyn Holmes as a gift upon her retirement.

The original program can be viewed here.