The Collatz Variations

The Collatz Variations was commissioned by the Silo Collective and premiered by the Australian Youth Orchestra Brass Quintet on August 9, 2012. It subsequently shared third prize in the Franz Schubert Conservatory’s International Composition Competition for 2012, and was performed in Grafenegg (Austria) as part of the AYO’s 2013 European Tour.

Inspired by the famous mathematical conjecture of Lothar Collatz, the work deals with the illusion of freedom. The backbone of the piece is a delirious set of variations, played entirely with a muted sound. But this music is interrupted, threatened and eventually smothered by a recurring chorale, played with an open sound and led by the French horn.