• Barry Guy
  • Redshift (1998)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • 2vc
  • 8 min

Programme Note

Redshift happens when a particle of light (photon) tries to escape from a gravitational field losing energy in the process. Since photons always travel at the speed of light, the only place where this energy loss can show up is in a change of frequency. The frequency of the photon decreases to longer wave lengths - this is the 'red shift'. A simple résumé of a term in a hugely complex and awe-inspiring subject.

What works for light waves also works for sound waves. It is the idea of gravitation towards similar material and minute frequency changes that lies behind this piece for two cellos. In the act of playing unison material, colouration of the pitch and characteristics of the instruments reveal themselves. Slight shifts in pitch and texture have an almost destabalizing effect on the listener, which in turn activates an even more intense concentration.

The piece is meditative in character although there are moments of intense activity like giant outbursts of x-rays emanating from a black hole way out in space.

© Barry Guy