The Memory of Water
The title contains the two ideas of my piece. The music follows no programme but proceeds like a sequence of memories initiated at the opening and remembered in different ways through the course of the work. The effect is of trying to remember (and re-remember) some elusive moment in the past. Because I was writing for string instruments alone, I knew that, even though at all levels the details could change, the string sound would straightaway mix and blend into itself. I imagined the music as a moving piece of water, linked by strands of texture, echoing back and forth, infecting itself, never taking hold or assuming shape. The ‘memories’ merge, emerge, and submerge into this texture: the two solo violins provide the initial impulse, whose essence is diluted in gradual phases as the piece progresses, until it finally disappears.
The Memory of Water is typical of Sawer at his best: finely crafted, edgily rhythmic at first, poetic at its close. ..it has a highly personal atmosphere, alluring but faintly uneasy – the pathos of memory, perhaps.
First performed by BCMG conducted by Mark Elder at the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham on 26 November 1993.