What You Have Almost Forgotten…
for Clarinet, Violin, Double Bass and Piano
Ignace Jang, Violin; Scott Anderson, Clarinet; Robert Pollock, Piano; Peter Askim, Bass
What You Have Almost Forgotten is a work in four movements, scored for clarinet, piano, violin and bass. The title of the piece comes from a book of poetry by the Hungarian poet Illyes. The music deals with not the poetry of the book, but rather a person connected to the book. In a way, it is a musical portrait of a relationship that is no longer – one that now exists only in the tenuous, fragile, changeable and sometimes arbitrary realm of memory.
As the title suggests, the piece deals with memory, in its many forms. We create and recreate our lives through memory – what we choose to remember, what we try to forget, and the memories which take on a life of their own. These memories exist, independent of our everyday lives – out of time, on a parallel plane.
Each movement of the work is linked by two pitches (Eb and A) and a musical idea that appears again and again: sometimes distorted and cloudy, sometimes violent and fiery. This musical idea is a fragment from an older work of mine – a piece which was itself “almost forgotten”.
These musical memories which underpin the piece unfold at different speeds, with different meanings. The fragment which emerges insistently and aggressively in the first movement becomes almost frozen in the second. The third movement in particular evokes the idea of several different time frames occurring at the same time: cycles which converge and diverge independently of one another. In the final movement, everything is interrupted, ripped apart by a repeated, insistent statement by the bass. The two pitches which have underscored the entire work reemerge from the chaos, unchanged.
Despite the machinations and manipulations of the will, memory persists in the end, rising to the surface and proclaiming itself. That thing which you have almost forgotten still exists in memory, though you may try to forget.