Universal Edition - David Sawer – The Memory of Water

David Sawer


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David Sawer
The Memory of Water

Work Details

Year of composition: 1993/1995
Version: 2nd Version
Scored for: for 2 violins and string orchestra
Composer: David Sawer
Soloinstruments/Soloists: 2 violins
Instrumentation: str(6 6 4 4 2)
Duration: 12′
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Audio Excerpt

The Memory of Water

World Première

Location: Barbican Hall London / Great Britain
Date: 23.06.1995
Orchestra: Bournemouth Sinfonietta
Conductor: Nicolae Moldoveanu

Work Introduction

“...dreaming beside the river, I gave my imagination to the water, the green, clear water that makes the meadows green. I can't site beside a brook without falling into a deep reverie, without seeing once again my happiness... The stream doesn't have to be ours. The anonymous water knows all my secrets. And the same memory issues from every spring.”

Gaston Bachelard, “Water and Dreams”

The title contains the two ideas of my piece: the music follows no programme but proceeds like a sequence of memories initiated at the opening and remembered in different ways through the course of the work: the effect is of trying to remember (and re-remember) some elusive moment in the past.

Because I was writing for string instruments alone, I knew that, even though at all levels the details could change, the string sound would straight away mix and blend into itself: I imagined the music as a moving piece of water, linked by strands of texture, echoing back and forth, infecting itself, never taking hold or assuming shape.

The 'memories' merge, emerge, and submerge into this texture: the two solo violins provide the initial impulse, whose essence is diluted in gradual phases as the piece progresses, until it finally disappears.

David Sawer

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