Kolam

The piece builds all of its material out of two simple, contrasting musical motifs (first heard in the clarinet, and xylophone). These cycle, and change in relation to one another but also build upon themselves, before finally collapsing into one constantly moving figure, from which additional figuration emerges.

‘Kolam,’ the title, is a ‘visually drawn prayer’ protecting the household. It also represents the Hindu concept of Sa?s?ra : ’constant change’ or ‘continuous flow.’ These prayers, common in many parts of the world take the form of geometric patterns, drawn on the ground in front of a house. Implicit in this is a beautiful impermanence; created from organic materials, they are washed away by time and the elements.

While there is a great diversity in design, a Kolam is built upon the elegant interaction of lines and dots. Their beguiling effect, and affect – partly created by the iterative process of creation – disguises these basic building blocks. I imagined constructing the piece in a similar way, by a process of accretion. The complexity of the whole belies the basic starting material, though the entire piece is imbued with its harmonic and melodic implications. Finally, having rigorously and strictly built up patterns, these are ‘washed away’ in the final stage of the piece, where only fragments of it remain and struggle to bee ‘seen’ amongst the more freely developing material which predominates.

Written for the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra Composers’ Workshop in 2014, Kolam was subsequently included in their concert series in 2015