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.