Musics of Memory premiere at the Brain and Creativity Institute

October 27 & 28, 2014

Musics of Memory world premiere at Brain and Creativity Institute (USC), Los Angeles, CA

for piano, marimba, harp, and guitar  

Performers: Norman Krieger, piano; Kenneth McGrath, marimba; Allison Allport, harp; Brian Head, guitar.

The movements:

  1. Lived Experience (piano solo)
  2. Mapping (guitar, marimba, harp)
  3. Reassessed, Rearranged (all)
  4. Recollection (piano solo, accompanied by guitar, marimba, harp)

Musics of Memory is based on writings about how memory works in the brain by Antonio Damasio. The piece is scored for four polyphonic instruments capable of playing harmony and rich textures — piano, guitar, marimba, and harp— so that they may fully present different versions of the same music.

In Lived Experience, the piano lays out all the ideas —motifs, harmonies, gestures, rhythms— of the entire work.  In Mapping, the guitar, marimba, and harp perform solos that map altered versions of the music originally stated by the piano. The third movement, Reassessed, Rearranged, consists of all the instruments exploring various emotional contexts for the same ideas, individually and together, coming to a section of heightened emotion and drama. In the final movement, Recollection, the piano plays what seems like the opening solo (Lived Experience), but nothing is quite the same; additionally the other instruments amplify aspects of these ideas, with resonance from the previous movements.

The work is dedicated to the memory of Nicholas Maw, a great British composer and dear friend, who at the end suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.