Speculorum Memoria (1992-1993) (Urbana 10)

For orchestra

Commissioned by Radio France for the Orchestre Philharmonique.

Speculorum Memoria (Mirrors’ Memory) is a four-movement piece for reduced orchestra where certain features of ensemble music subsist, especially in the rather soloistic writing of the strings.

Several mirrors are present in this piece:

The spatial mirror is the first that appears to us from the moment the instrumentalists take the scene. The set in space of the sound is neither a conceptual nor abstract fact. I have integrated it at every level of the composition and constitutes, to the same extent than instrumentation, a premise. The listener could keep only this aspect and listen to the piece with only that dimension. “Space” and discourse are closely linked but their functions are very different. To summarise I would say that discourse uses space as a supplementary rhetoric resource (as it is related to hearing).

Of all the notions of reflected musical image, the one I was more concerned with during the composition as that which joins image, time, and memory together. Discourse closely depends on these images, whose reflection or trail create the most important of mirrors, that which is related to the perception of musical phenomena and memory.

Most of the time I have spent sketching and organising the musical material was spent on the categorisation and dramaturgical functionality of the different musical sequences (orchestra, timbre, preponderance of the rhythmic aspect, and direction, force and attraction vector sequences).

The “content” of the piece depends on these categories, and on a ratio (similar to the golden ratio) that is linked to the relative weight of the events.

The mirrors’ memory could be mistaken with memory of the mirrors, the subtle difference being  the impossibility of forgetting.


Speculorum Memoria I

Speculorum Memoria II

Speculorum Memoria III

Speculorum Memoria IV

Speculorum Memoria

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Concert at Maison de Radio France
Direction, Laurent Cuniot.

*score available at the Radio France library.

[ Urbana Cycle ]
[ Great ensemble / Orchestra ]