Light is both a particle and a wave is a new 20-minute work for chamber ensemble by Matthew Hindson, commissioned by Justice Jane Mathews OA, for the Australia Ensemble, one of Australia’s longest running and most recognised chamber groups. It was premiered by them in the Sir John Clancy Auditorium, University of New South Wales, Sydney on 23 October 2010:
Thrown into the mix was the premiere of Matthew Hindson’s Light is both a particle and a wave. It was a fascinating counterpoint to Ligeti’s Bagatelles in terms of its contrasting scoring and dense, rhythmic organisation, commanding attention from the chaotic, energised opening through to the delicate stasis of the second movement.

Hindson’s ideas and his music often unfold at top speed. When he does slow down, there is much to discover.

This work is no mere bagatelle.

The Sydney Morning Herald (Harriet Cunningham), 26 October 2010

The work is cast in two movements: “Light is both a particle and a wave” and “Near the speed of light”. It is scored for flute, clarinet in A, piano and string quartet.

The composer writes that the piece is based upon two main ideas:
“First, some of the physical properties of light, including its dual nature as a particle and a wave, and that time is perceived to slow down the closer to the speed of light at which one travels; and second, the present and imagined future notions of technological progress – from the rough and tumble competition of today’s innovation to a future where the concept of time is completely different (as per the short story ‘Glory’, by Australian science-fiction author, Greg Egan.”