Memory allows one to be at two places at the same time. It allows one to compare and contrast, to leave one world and grab hold of another.
In a soundscape composition, spaces dissolve into other spaces the way the present dissolves into a recollection of the past. For example, one takes the apartment elevator to emerge not from the foyer of an apartment building, but rather, from a quiet seaside dock. The work Memory operates by such subjectivity. One image chases another at will. Often they collide, interfere, overlap, or else, merge into one.
The soundscapes of Memory were all recorded in Stockholm (and vicinity) during a visit in November 1997. The memory in this case is that of Stockholm, and with a few exceptions, during the time of August Strindberg’s lifetime, approximately a century ago. Featured among the sounds evoking this period is the elevator Strindberg used in his last apartment where the Strindberg Museet is now located. There is also the changing of the guard ceremony; Strindberg once worked in the library located in the Royal Palace. He was also familiar with the bells quoted in this work. The first from a pair of churches located in Gamla Stan. The second from the Stadhuset, evoking battle songs of centuries past.
The prevalence of these older sounds gives the piece a nostalgic character. What is it that motivates me to evoke a past that does not belong to me, but to the people of Stockholm? Cultural origins for many Canadians have been erased for one reason or another for more than hundred and fifty years of settlement: surnames have been altered, language discarded, clothing replaced, and historical knowledge forgotten. Stockholmers have a past that can be retrieved much more easily. For Canadians, the past is an individual matter, divided among many intertwining roads. Which explains my attraction to the historical sound treasures that frequent this composition. Beyond the richness of a multi-cultural heritage lingers many untold stories and vanished bridges.
Memory is 7 minutes in duration. It was realized in 1997-98 at the Stockholm EMS and the composer’s personal studio. Many thanks to all the kind folks at the Strindberg Museet, EMS (Electroacoustic Music in Sweden), Skansen, Faktorimuseet, and Radermacher Forges for their generousity and hospitality. Also to Hans Ulrich Werner for providing an outlet to realize this work and Claude Schryer for his critical feedback.