The Wind Carries Relics (2017)
Involuntary memory refers to a type of memory that occurs when a cue in everyday life evokes recollections of the past without any deliberate effort. This concept was first acknowledged by French novelist Marcel Proust, in his novel In Search of Lost Time, in which he famously describes an episode of involuntary memory after tasting a madeleine dipped in tea. This idea of Involuntary, or Proustian, Memory is the central concept behind The Wind Carries Relics.
This work applies the idea of Proustian Memory on both a micro and a macro level. On a larger scale, the structure and form of the music fluctuates between fast and slow tempi, each time suddenly “snapping back” to a faster tempo after slower sections.These fluctuations in tempo are modeled after a Proustian Memory: gradually slipping from a moment in the present into a moment of nostalgia, and then suddenly resuming the present moment.
The concept of memory is also at play with the way smaller gestures are treated throughout the piece - for example, the recurring gesture of a falling 16th-note triplet, or the staccato sixteenth notes in groups of 2, 4, or 6. These gestures are intentionally reused and re-contextualized as a way of playing with the listener’s memory of what has already occurred in the piece, and as a way of creating compositional cohesion.
As a composer whose instrumental training was through euphonium performance during high school and into college, writing for euphonium is always a bit like looking back into my own past - so, on a personal level, the very act of composing this work is connected to the musical, gestural, and structural concepts found throughout. The Wind Carries Relics was commissioned by euphoniumist Aaron K. Campbell in 2017 as part of his debut album project.