for Hilary Hahn
The inspiration for the piece is the classic 1980’s memory game ‘Simon.’ The original game has four colored buttons, each with a distinct sound and a light bulb behind it. The machine lights a button at random and plays its sound and expects the player to press the same button in response. If the player is successful, the machine repeats the first button and randomly adds another button to the sequence. Therefore, as the game progresses the sequences become longer and more difficult to remember and reproduce.
So, technically, ‘Simon’ composes a little piece every time a game is played- there’s a limited number of notes added sequentially to each other at random making the selection seem very logical. Coincidentally, the ‘Simon’ pitches are A,D,G,A – overlapping 3 of the Violin’s open strings in a different order.
In Memory Games a similar process occurs around two different patterns that are introduced in measures 1 and 19 respectively. Several rounds of the game are played throughout the piece, so to speak, making it resemble the form of the Passacaglia (or variations on a bass line).
- Avner Dorman