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Memory Palace

About the work:

for percussion and electronics
duration: 23 minutes

Commissioned by/Premiere:

The American Composers Forum/JFund for a consortium of 10 percussionists
First full performance: June 20, 2012 at The Stone, New York, NY by Owen Weaver

Score:

Purchase from Project Schott New York

Listen:

Also available from iTunes/Apple Music | Amazon

About the work:

Memory Palace is a kind of paean to places and people that have deeply affected me. The title refers to an ancient technique of memorization that helped orators remember very long speeches by placing mental signposts in an imaginary location and ‘walking’ through it. In this piece, the palace is my life. The crickets in the first movement, “Harriman,” were recorded with on a camping trip with two old and dear friends. The recording of windchimes in the third movement was recorded at my parents’s house in their backyard. The sounds in the piece are signposts; they help me remember—and more important, understand, who I am.

The majority of the instruments in Memory Palace are to be fashioned by the percussionist. This includes restringing a cheap guitar, cutting and tuning 14 slats of wood (to be played like a marimba), tuning 10 metal pipes, and tuning wine bottles by filling them with varying amounts of water. Ideally, the instruments should not be expensive to make; simple household items (and maybe a trip to your local hardware store) should suffice. In addition, a few traditional percussion instruments are used: three loose crotales, two glockenspiel bars, and a kick drum.

Memory Palace is dedicated to Owen Weaver.