It was while working on materials for the piece in the studio of the Dansk Institut for Elektronisk Musik (DIEM) in Aarhus (Denmark) that I heard about the tradition of “ringing down the sun” (ringer solen ned in Danish) — the tolling of church bells, signalling the end of the working day and the descent of the sun through dusk and on into night. The tolling signal and all it represents remain part of Danish culture, even if it no longer has a practical function in daily life. This idea seemed metaphorically to coincide with my attitudes towards the sounds, contours and spaces I was immersed in, and it steered the direction of the piece.
There are resonant sounds which, although they may be set off with striking attacks, draw us inwards in contemplation, and there are circling, pulsed garlands which travel and radiate energy. Descending contours prevail — drifting, floating, falling. But the sun also has to be “rung up,” and so the form of the piece is governed by the progress of cyclical contours. Lastly, there is the spatial dimension itself, designed to evoke the open spaces of the outdoors — sky, landscape, coastline — as well as the more intimate, surround feeling embodied in resonances.
Ringing Down the Sun was realized between 2001 and ’02 in the studio of the Dansk Institut for Elektronisk Musik (DIEM) in Aarhus (Denmark) and the composer’s studio in London (England, UK), and premiered on June 13, 2002, during the MIX.02 Festival at Auktionsscenen (Aarhus, Denmark). It was commissioned by DIEM. Thanks to Wayne Siegel who initiated the commission.
The present stereophonic Ambisonic recording was produced by Jonty Harrison in April 2018 in his studio in Birmingham (England, UK).