Lost Pages from the Book of Memory and Forgetting : for string quartet
by Tim Dargaville (2017)
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Library shelf no. 785.714/DAR 2 [Available for loan]
These short pieces for string quartet mark the beginning of a collection entitled, "The Book of Memory and Forgetting". My reasons for wanting to make these works are complex. A significant impetus has been to remember the life of my mother, and in particular make sense of her last years in the strange landscape of dementia. Rosemary Dargaville (1934- 2013) was a feisty, articulate, loving mother, also a campaigner for social justice, for whom language was a sophisticated tool for passionate expression of feeling and ideas. For the last decade of her life, Rosemary lived with gradual loss of language and physical mobility, as a result of the onset of Alzheimers disease. Her perceptions of the present and past became increasingly intermingled, her language took strange and often beautiful forms, with sentences disappearing, or disparate thoughts connecting. In her last days, when she had no words left, Rosemary's need to make contact was expressed through wordless singing, and through interacting with ever-present recorded music. Music was the most important solace for her and music for strings, in particular, was a favourite.
These "Lost Pages" are in remembrance of Rosie.
The experience of caring for her in the later part of her life
has inspired the notion of creating a music that speaks in
unexpected ways - from abrupt changes in direction, to familiar
musical objects in unfamiliar circumstances, to gradual
disappearances of recognisable traits. Movements I - V are
distinct portraits, or snapshots. Movements VI - XI are these
same pieces in various states of dissolution and disappearance.
And yet always a distinctive, tender presence remains. The music
in this collection is intended to be a heartfelt contemplation on
the mysterious journey that Rosie shared with us in our family.
It is an attempt to express gratitude for, amongst many things,
her life affirming spirit, as well as the dignity and resilience
she showed in her last years of quiet
Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello.
Duration: 25 min.
Commission note: Commissioned by Ironwood Chamber Ensemble.
Resonate article: Insight: The Art of Dissolving by Tim Dargaville
Performances of this work
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