Remembering, Forgetting – chamber orchestra, laptop, 11'
2009 ∙ large ensemble
SymphoNYC, conducted by Paul Haas
220.127.116.11 | 0.2.2.0 | laptop | str (18.104.22.168.1)
Commissioned by Sympho. Premiered 5/6/09 by SymphoNYC with Paul Haas (cond.) at Les Poisson Rouge, NY, NY.
These pieces come from a Sympho concert, FLECTION, in which Barber's "Adagio for Strings" was used as a throughline, woven about an evening of otherwise new music, composed by Paul Haas, Judd Greenstein, and myself. Each new piece examined some aspect of the Adagio. I was most taken with the Adagio’s use through history as accompaniment to particular events. 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.
In this piece, 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.
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. In this piece the Adagio is that memory. It is a painful one 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 world all around us, a sadness remains, an emptiness. And to fill that void we seek out the thing we’ve forgotten.
further thoughts on this concert