The Unmoved Centre

Randall Smith

The Unmoved Centre

  • Randall Smith
  • Year of composition: 1997
  • Duration: 14:08
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Réseaux des arts médiatiques, with support from the CCA
  • ISWC: T0727934180

The Unmoved Centre is a sonic realization of the poetics of spiritual mobility, a journey into the center of the imaginative image. This invitation into the imagination is a gentle push into the unknown which throws us off balance and sets in motion a dynamic reverie towards ambiguity and metaphor. Rather than represent exterior realities and actions, this piece analogizes them to trace the process of its own making. The title refers to that informed pool of possibilities which seeks shaping, and whose structure lies finally beyond the bounds of the individual. The dramatic focus of The Unmoved Centre is the transformation from outer to inner existence. It is a play of forces that map the body’s spiritual struggles as it searches for its tunings within the manageable and imaginable. It is found in a sphere of connected, conflicting and harmonious sounds.

The Unmoved Centre opens with rumour and suggestion, the possibility of form. A tender string figure introduces order, and then these elements, so long distant and apart, begin to speak to one another in earnest, rhythmically cohering, forming bodies. A trilling, snycopated voice cries out for company which arrives in the form of a creaking succession of closed doors. Foreign life forces meet, like cells inside the immune system. Intruders are detected, repulsion’s attempted and thwarted, and then some pact of reconciliation is carved out. Thousand of small movements duck, nod and feint their way towards new signs of greeting — in the absence of a common language a new one must be made. At last a new unearthly rhythm arrives, a marriage of stretched strings and shaken antidotes. The dance begins again.



The Unmoved Centre was realized at the composer’s studio in 1997. It was commissioned by Réseaux des arts médiatiques with support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) and was realized at the composer’s studio. It premiered on February 19, 1997 during Réseaux’s Rien à voir (1) concert series presented by Réseaux at Théâtre La Chapelle in Montréal.


  • February 19, 1997, Rien à voir (1): concert solo + carte blanche: Pression sonore, La Chapelle — scènes contemporaines, Montréal (Québec)