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.
"Owen Weaver presented two movements from Memory Palace by Chris Cerrone. In the first, he plucked a quirky diatonic melody on piano strings to an electronic background of crickets and drones. The second was performed on a “homemade marimba” of wooden planks, from which Weaver elicited a fluid melody in controlled rolls. The dry attacks of the mallets grew more pitched and resonant as the electronics amplified the inherent tones of the wood. This simple, but elegant, process continued for several minutes, undermined only by the conspicuous placement of a kick drum at the performer’s feet. The waiting instrument evoked questions of how the piece’s gradual development could accommodate this disparate object. Those questions were resolved abruptly; Weaver struck skin and wood simultaneously and the melody, with its ghosted electronic resonance, was suddenly gone in a percussive snap."
—Lisa Coons, New Music Box (full article)
All works are Copyright Christopher Cerrone and published by Outburst-Inburst Musics. For a printed perusal score and CD recording, please contact me.