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Water Mountain

  • Image 1
  • Image 2
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clarinet, violin & cello
Year composed:
c. 11 mins
220x305, pp16, saddle-stapled

Water Mountain was inspired by an exhibition of small gouache paintings I came across while visiting Bath in 1998. The images were taken from a book, originating in early 19th-century India, which was used to guide the interpretation of dreams by drawing out mythological and cultural symbols pertaining to fortune and destiny, including the ‘water mountain’ from which the work takes its title.

Although the various contrasting musical scenes were inspired by the imagery of the paintings, it is not intended that the music should function as an illustration of the visual images themselves. Whereas the pictures were used by dream interpreters to make concrete the ephemeral matter of the dream, the music is an attempt to restore the subjective nature of the dreamscape; above all 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 intuition based on experience of one’s own language — in this case the ‘language’ of the dream. 

The first performance was given by Apartment House at the University of Reading in 1999.

Water Mountain is recorded by Lontano on diffracted terrains: Chamber Music of Dorothy Ker (Lorelt lnt126)