Liquid Gold

PRiSM 8³ | 5D106S1

Composer: Isabel Benito Gutiérrez, RNCM

Scientist: Professor Mathias Brust, Professor of Chemistry, The University of Liverpool

5D106Sis a piece based on the research of the chemist Mathias Brust. His research focuses on the reaction of liquid gold (HAuCl3) with other substances, in this case tri-sodium citrate.

Liquid gold viewed with an electron microscope

Liquid gold viewed with an electron microscope

Isabel wanted to reflect the change of colours that occurs, as the reaction takes place, in sound. First, a sudden change from pale yellow (from the gold) to black (when adding the tri-sodium citrate), then to a dark red.

The reaction of gold nanoparticles with tri-sodium citrate.

Isabel created different motifs for the actions taking place when mixing the components with a magnetic stirrer. A continuous motif which starts in the piano is inspired by the continuous noise of the stirrer.

The piece is divided in four sections responding to different actions and reactions of the experiment. These sections are repeated until the next stage of the process is effective. In this way, the musicians are conducted by the reaction.

Isabel and Mathias first considered recording the chemical process and projecting it during the performance, but Mathias suggested performing the experiment live, alongside the musical performance. In that way, the scientist also becomes a performer, conducting the piece as the musicians react to the experimental process.