About this Piece
This 12-minute piece for woodwind quintet was composed as a gift for the 20th anniversary of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra and premiered in November 2003 at the Helsinki Conservatory on a concert that also included Berio's Laborintus II, another work that deals with memory. Salonen was one of the founders of Avanti!, and he turned to material that had been percolating in his memory for the course of the ensemble's history (the score is dated "Helsinki 1982 - Los Angeles 2003"). Salonen took ideas from his early Mimo (a piece not included on his current list of works) and completely recomposed them into a new work that shares some of the sound world of Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments. From a slow, heterophonic murmuring from alto flute and horn, the work expands into a brilliant divertimento full of rhythmic and metrical play. Game over, Memoria ends in memory of Berio with a homophonic chorale featuring the darker grain of alto flute, English horn, and contrabassoon.
- John Henken is the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association's Director of Publications.