NEVER THOUGHTS FOR US TO FORGET (2011)
FL, OB, CL, BSN, HRN, TPT, TBN, CB
COMMISSIONED BY: OBERLIN WIND ENSEMBLE
PREMIERE: 2011-03-10 (OBERLIN, OH)
LATEST PERFORMANCE: 2013-11-11 (VIENNA, AUSTRIA)
There are two silences. One when no word is spoken. The other when perhaps a torrent of language is being employed. This speech is speaking of a language locked beneath it. That is its continual reference. The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don't hear. It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, anguished or mocking smoke screen which keeps the other in its place. When true silence falls we are still left with echo but are nearer nakedness. One way of looking at speech is to say that it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness.
- Harold Pinter
Pinter speaks here of the theater, but he may just as well have spoken of the concert hall. His words point to a reversal of the usual situation where silence is simply the absence of music. This is not John Cage’s silence, however, where music recedes and is replaced by the noises in everyday life. It is a silence in which our own private music exists, only occasionally obscured by the music that is heard outright. It offers us an important question: What if music is born first in our own thoughts? As memories of events that we’ve never experienced? As impostors that are conjured out of our psyche by the musicians onstage, momentarily escaping into the air in order to dance through metal and wood before returning to the foggy plateaus of our subconscious? If that were the case, then silence would ultimately be those sounds that are pulled back into our mind when others vanish from the room. This silence merely poses as quietness…one that hides our sonic fantasies until, no longer willing to be kept private, they burst forth into sounding music — the broken shards of a chorale, the flickering embers of melody, a sigh that longs for its own remembrance.