#55. Mamre

TITLE: Mamreedgerton_mamre_000-cover-small-w-border
CAT# (YEAR COMPOSED): #55 (2000)


PREMIERE PERFORMANCE: Chatschatur Kanajan at Galerie SPHN 2001; Recording: Chatschatur Kanajan, violin; 3 January 2001; Hochschule der Kunste, Berlin; Anja Beusterien, tonmeister

Note: Mamre presents an inner world of sound exploration, whose strands are woven through ancient cultures and traditions. Mamre is a birthplace, itself, literal and ideal. Compressions and rarefactions tell two stories of Abram and Mamre, of survival and an heir.

Genesis 17
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old Y*hw*h appeared to him and said, ‘I am El-Shaddai. Live in my presence, be perfect, and I shall grant a covenant between myself and you, and make you numerous.’ God spoke to him as follows, ‘… you will become the father of many nations. I shall make you exceedingly fertile. I shall make you into nations, and your issue will be kings.”


Genesis 18
“Y*hw*h appeared to him at the oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them, … Let me have a little water brought, and you can wash your feet and have a rest under the tree. Let me fetch a little bread and you can refresh yourselves before going further … Then taking curds, milk and the calf  which had been prepared, he laid all before them, and they ate while he remained standing near them under the tree …”
(… only gradually are the three men revealed as angels …)

Abram accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The two angels went on toward Sodom; while Y*hw*h remained behind and talked with Abram, telling him of the destruction that was about to fall on that city. Abram pleaded that if ten righteous persons could be found, then would it not be better to spare this city. But not even ten could be found and the threatened destruction fell upon it …. At length all his wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100 years after he had first entered the land of Canaan, Abram died, and was buried at Machpelah. The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the ancient world, and references to it are interwoven in the religious traditions of almost all Eastern nations.


In MAMRE, a short study for solo violin, a select group of variables were chosen that would offer a closer look into the micro-sound world of the violin. More specifically, the intention was to develop a multi-parameterized network that would allow compositional coherence to be developed across multiple dimensions. Aurally, the result of such a framework resulted in the production of irregular and transient sonorities by shifting inherent variables of sound production into non-idiomatic ratios, when compared with pitch, rhythm and tempo. In addition to rhythm and pitch, the following variables were selected: bow rotation, bow speed, microintervallic movement, microintervallic tuning (Beats), bow placement, bow pressure, decoupling bow speed from tempo, two dimensional vibrati. The results of these manipulations include transient source and spectral segments; complex harmonic and inharmonic multiphonic sonorities; subharmonics, and; inharmonic glissandi.

Next, a few spectrographic analyses (with accompanying recordings) assisted in this discussion.