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In contrast to the singular, organic process of solo for cello this piece plays with the idea of juxtaposing contrasting fragments of material. It was stimulated by a book of dream symbols, in the form of simple gouache paintings, originating in the Rajasthan Gujarat area of Western India in the early 19th century. The book is one of any number of dream lexicons to be found in ancient eastern cultures that guided the interpretation of dreams using mythological and cultural symbols pertaining to fortune and destiny.
Although the Rajasthan Gujarat lexicon informs aspects of the aesthetic of the piece, it is not intended that the music function as an illustration of the visual images themselves. Rather: whereas the pictures seek to make concrete the ephemeral matter of the dream, the music embodies an attempt both to restore the subjective nature of the dreamscape and to reconstruct the grammar of its articulation in time - concentrated, disjunct and fleeting. This occurs perhaps in the way that one might attempt to reconstruct a paragraph in an archaic language from its written symbols, without having access to their original source or context, guided only by intuitions based on experience of one's own language - in this case the 'language' of the dream. The title of the piece is borrowed from one of the images of the Rajasthan Gujarat lexicon.
Water Mountain was composed for Apartment House 1999. It has been performed in Reading, New Zealand (175E ensemble 2002), Seoul (ACL festival 2003) and Brighton (Soundwaves festival, 2007) and broadcast by Radio NZ.
21 Nov 1999: Performed by 175 East: Johnny Chang (violin); Gretchen La Roche (B flat clarinet); Katherine Hebley (cello)
20 Aug 2000: Performed by 175 East: Johnny Chang (violin); Gretchen La Roche (B flat clarinet) and Katherine Hebley (cello)
25 Jun 2007: Performed by Lontano: Andrew Sparling (clarinet), Caroline Balding (violin) and Robin Michael (cello)
Performed by Apartment House
Peformed by Andrew Sparling (clarinet), Mieko Kanno (violin), Zoe Martlew (cello)