Huydts: Memento Amare for Bassoon, Viola and Piano
Code: JP3023 ISMN: 979-0-3019-0495-4
Memento Amare' was written in 1996 at the request of Mr. Keith Conant. The work is dedicated to the memory of Bruce Grainger and to the special relationship that existed between him and Keith. In search for material for the piece, the composer came across some Arab Quatrains in translations by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The poetry seemed remarkably to the point, and he decided to use the spirit of these poems as a source of inspiration for the four movements of the work.
In the first movement (no title) a tenebrous, somber mood prevails. Symbolically, the bassoon has been left out. The music gradually gains warmth and speed and for a while the mood seems to change to a more positive and vibrant character. The sudden, bleak restatement of the opening gesture makes us realize the painful emptiness that the passing of a loved one creates.
In the second movement (Sunshine was he...) the bassoon enters with an expanded melody based on the opening motif of the first movement. The radiant and warm harmonic pedal point upon which the first period of the piece is based suggests steadiness and reliability as well as a sense of timelessness. After the restless central section in which various moods rapidly succeed one another, a duet of the bassoon and the viola lead the music into a state of resignation and acceptance.
The third movement (With firm mind...) is a fast, enjoyable play-piece where witty and serious moments compete. Meant as a tribute to Bruce Grainger's virtuosity on and mastery of the bassoon, the movement also reminds us how unexpected events can drastically alter expectations. The piece never finishes: Instead it cuts of at the height of its brilliance. What follows is silence and a couple of grim chords over which the bassoon plays its final phrase. The piano leads the music toward the next movement.
The final movement (no title) is a slow, free passacaglia based upon the principal melodic motif which dominates the entire work. The harmonic scheme of the passacaglia combined with fragments from earlier movements reflect upon the process of mourning and remembrance that survivors have to go through following the death of a loved one. The viola and the piano are the principal forces. However, every now and then a little glimpse of the bassoon surfaces over a D-major harmony with added 6th as if the music wishes to place the remembrance in as positive a spotlight as possible.