memento mori (2019)
Commission: Robert McCormick for the McCormick Percussion Group
Duration: 13 minutes
Premiere: April 14 2019 | McCormick Percussion Group, Julia Keller and Sini Virtanen (Strings & Hammers) | Tampa, FL
Instrumentation: double bass, violin and percussion quintet
A memento mori is an artistic or symbolic reminder of mortality. May this work be a memorial for all that we have lost in this current climate –
humanity, civility, morals, courage, empathy, compassion, logic, common sense, backbones – and be a charge for those who still stand righteous and strong to fight back, and never back down.
I have conceived of the double bass and violin parts as a single ‘superbass’ instrument. This superbass grows out of the percussion sound, growing from a pitched-rhythm (untuned) sound into it’s pitched bassness. As the piece progresses, the percussion instruments start taking on qualities of the superbass, moving toward pitchedness, and then into the typical bowed sound expected of string instruments. The work ends with antiphonal calls between two aquaphones that imitate the superbass harmonics that were heard earlier.