Infinite Sets And Double Binds is a term coined by Margaret Arden in her book The Midwifery Of The Soul(1). It refers to the circumstances of human relationships where communications are so full of emotional confusions that people drive one
another mad. Let me say here that there is no direct equivalence between the psychoanalytical theory and the music and I certainly donít want to drive listeners to madness.
On the other hand, the title and its vast implications attracted me because it agreed with my intuition, pointing me towards music expressing extreme emotional states. I felt, when writing for the piano, it was essential to explore the
maximum contrast of emotional intensity. I held on to this idea when composing, and believe that it freed me from inhibition stemming from my awareness of the vast and brilliant repertoire already existing for the piano, a potentially crushing presence for any composer.
I began to work on ISDB because of the sea at Cornwall. The first and last movements of ISDB convey, I hope, the spirit of liquid motion. Water leads naturally to air, earth and fire, in other words, the classical elements, which are
eternal and most importantly real and in motion.
I sensed that the intensity of the elemental forces, their savage wildness, needed to be rendered through the most fundamental craftsmanship. To anyone who knows the Schillinger System of Musical Composition, the score of ISDB bears the signposts of its methods. Part 7, for example, owes much of its crystalline wholeness to the effect of symmetry, involution and power series.
David Mason recorded ISDB in 1998. When I approached David I warned him that I would not spare his virtuosity. He was nonchalant and I wondered if he might regret his cool confidence. In the event he recorded the composition in
quick time with a minimum of errors and a breathtaking understanding of the music.
1 Free Association Books 1998ISBN 1 85343 389 6