The Round and Square Art of Memory (1999)

The Round and Square Art of Memory (1999)

Duration: 30 mins.

Solo piano – 3.3.3.3 – 4.3.3.1 – 2 harps, percussion (6) – 16.14.12.10.8. Commissioned by the BBC for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Kathryn Stott (piano). 1st performance to take place on 5th Feb. 2000 at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Kathryn Stott (piano), conductor Martyn Brabbins.

The title for The Round and Square Art of Memory is taken from the illustrations of the Elizabethan alchemist Robert Fludd and refers to the different natures of encapsulaing memory via symbol, geometry and line. This work explores the nature of memory to by referring to another work of mine, The Anatomy of Water. This piece is ‘remembered’ by hearing familiar music through the filter of altered perspectives and dimensions. These distorted memories act in turn as the starting point for the creation of completely new and independent musical material. Two natures of music are explored; the fluid and horizontal (round) and the rhythmic and vertical (square). The work gradually transforms from one to the other through an intense and volatile sound world. The piano’s relationship with the orchestra is dominant but not confrontational; much of the musical material is shared with the orchestra as an equal virtuosic partner.