Memento (Chernobyl ‘86)

The anniversary of the death of Zoltán Kocsis is a fittingly solemn occasion for performing one of his early works, Memento, a 20-minute piece for large orchestra. In addition to the usual groups of instruments, Kocsis included some rare instruments, such as a hurdy-gurdy, a guitar, an accordion, a piano, a pedalled electric organ, a carillon, bells and a vibraphone. The music can be divided into two main parts. In terms of style it resembles Arnold Schoenberg, with references to contemporary composers, such as Kurtág. In spite of the large apparatus, the musical fabric is extremely light and every instrument can be distinguished. Memento is by no means programme music. The first, dense, chaotic section is followed by dramatic silence. The main elements of the “slow” movement is an E pedal note, with upward rising scales, reminiscent of the opening movement of Bach’s Matthew Passion.