Premiered by Laura Oltman and Michael Newman at the Raritan River Music Festival, Clinton, NJ, 28 May 2005
Duration: 7 1/2 minutes
This work is available on
Music from Raritan River: World Premiere Recordings of New American Music for Guitar Duo
Memory: Swells as performed by Newman Oltman Guitar Duo
Poet A.R. Ammons wrote this thought:
The very longest swell in the ocean, I suspect, carries the deepest memory. Where are all the shifts of the tide kept?
Formally, Memory: Swells has the shape of ABCBA, a cycle-forming shape, like that of a wave.
One can think of the A material as the deepest, slowest moving part of a wave, 100 feet below the surface with calm, clean, steady, oscillating motions. The B materials can be understood as the middle ground, 30 feet below the surface, fluctuating, expanding, rolling, and revealing rich harmonic motifs. The C material is like the top of the waves surface, full of flutterings, unexpected ripples, whirlpools, and splashes. These curls and upsurges melt back into the inevitable and deep motion of memory — and/or memory of motion.
This work is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Laura Oltman and Michael Newman.
The world premiere was presented by Laura Oltman and Michael Newman at the Raritan River Music festival on May 28, 2005 in Clinton, New Jersey.
— Augusta Read Thomas
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