One of the great privileges in being alive today is our incredible access to the music and life drama of other cultures. And as we learn about our differences, we are made aware of our similarities--in fact, genetic codes that link us to people of other continents and other eras.
If it is memory that affords us a sense of self, of place, of identity, the concept of “deep remembering” suggests entry into the collective unconscious--who we are through our parents and others close to us, through generations, through diaspora, through streams of humanity. Each of those people in turn struggled for a sense of self and--consciously or not--a legacy.
Deep Remembering is perhaps an attempt to conjure the expanse of human experience, while not pretending to capture it. The work draws upon musical relationships that are not rooted in any single cultural tradition but synthesized from many--Indian scales, African pitch bending, European chords, and so forth. What may seem on first hearing to be “contemporary” techniques are, ironically, also the most ancient, dating back centuries, even millennia, in other cultures.
The movements’ titles come from a passage in Anne Sexton’s love poem entitled Kiss:
My nerves are turned on. I hear them like
musical instruments. Where there was silence
the drums, the strings are incurably playing.
You did this.
Pure genius at work. Darling, the composer has stepped into fire.
The work was commissioned by and dedicated with deep affection and admiration to Gail Williams and Mary Ann Covert, who gave its first performance in Hammamatsu, Japan.