10 minutes (2 parts)
1111 | 0220 | laptop* | strings
The object of memory for this work is Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” which was programmed on the same concert. During the concert, I “sampled” the ensemble’s performance of the Adagio and subsequently played back that material during the performance of “Remembering/Forgetting.” This way, the Adagio becomes an object which is manipulated and recalled imperfectly — much like memory.
When music is taken out of the concert hall and brought into people’s personal lives its nature changes — from something abstract to something intimately tied to the event it accompanies. For many, I’m sure the Adagio will forever trigger images of Ground Zero, memories of Franklin D. Roosevelt, or scenes (real or imagined) of World War II and Vietnam.
Remembering: The Adagio shines a light on a particular memory, which, upon breaking through the surface, churns over and over in the mind — going so far into the experience that we almost leave the present day. Upon returning, there is a kind of emotional afterglow or stain in the heart.
Forgetting: Just as the Adagio brings memories to mind, it is an incredible distraction in all its beauty. Memory is fallible, emotions will fade, the mind will latch to anything within its gaze that is attractive — especially when faced with a painful experience. Here, the Adagio is a painful memory and we try to wipe it away from the mind: first by turning away, then through distraction. Its distinctness fades and the memory is forgotten. But despite the evolving experience, a sadness remains, an emptiness. And to fill that void we seek out the thing we’ve forgotten.
*the composer performs the laptop part or may assist in its preparation based on an Ableton Live Set