• Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • Memoria (2003)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Written as a gift for Avanti! Chamber Orchestra

  • fl(afl).ob(ca).cl.bn(cbn).hn
  • 12 min

Programme Note

Memoria, a wind quintet in one movement, harks back to a piece of mine from the early 1980s, ,Mimo, which I had left unfinished. In the summer of 2003 I wanted to write some chamber music before embarking on a complex and large-scale orchestral project. I found the manuscript of Mimo, over twenty years old, in my archives, and decided to finish the composition.

In the end there was almost nothing left of the old quintet: maybe some kind of a ritualistic atmosphere and some textural aspects, very little else. I rewrote every note. The fast music that gradually grows out of the slow material did not exist in Mimo at all. The basic character is serious, sometimes even sad, despite the short fast sections where the playful, flickering divertimento character (typical of the ensemble) flashes by.

The title Memoria refers to two things: partly to some sweet-and-sour memories from more than twenty years ago, and partly to the death of Luciano Berio, the great Italian composer, whose music I greatly admire. The chorale at the end is a lament to the memory of Berio, as a gesture a bit like the end of Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments where Stravinsky mourns the death of his friend Debussy. For some reason, those chords in the last minute-and-a-half of Memoria have found their way into other works of mine. Some processes seem to need time.

Programme note © Esa-Pekka Salonen


Salonen's MEMORIA performed by The City of Tomorrow quintet