as they step into the same rivers

Viola, contrabass, iPod shuffle.

“ As they step into the same rivers, other and still other waters flow upon them... ”


This famous variation of the ‘river’ paradox of the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, I take as a model of how we experience music. There is a constant change (the waters) that defines the existence of sameness (the rivers). In the case of music, one can say this is defined by constant change/difference on one level and sameness/repetition on another. In my composition, I encrypt the phrase (in the Greek language) using a 5x5 Polybios square; hence the recurrence of five-note melodic patterns. The same phrase is repeated over and over in gradually changing register and sonority, always oscillating between the viola and contrabass. Over this a random ipod play-list of static and shifting drones, of physically modeled string sounds, punctuate and define the space where the musical/linguistic phrases unfold.

performance history

4 October 2007 - Premiered by Maryrozemarie (Mary Oliver and Rozemarie Heggen), OT301, Amsterdam.