Suspended Animation was the product of several years of obsession with the concept of self-similarity in musical composition. I wanted to explore an approach to structuring compositions which maintained the rigour of self-similar structure, but afforded performers more flexibility. At the time of writing the piece I was also exploring the use of pre-existing material in the compositional process, and the result was an open-scored composition for 3 or more players which requires an ‘input source’.
The score itself is a text score, detailing as to how a pre-existing melody can be split across an infinite number of musicians whilst maintaining a self similar structure. The piece is ‘modular’ in the sense that it doesn’t provide a finished set of instructions which a group of musicians can interpret to realise the piece, but instead offers the tools for the performers to construct the piece with.
There are two recordings of this piece available, both performed by the New European Ensemble on separate occasions. The source material for these was the chorale melody ‘Mein junges Leben hat ein End’ which was famously worked into a set of variations by Dutch composer/organist Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck.