L.ETHE.R | John Abram

L.ETHE.R was composed in 1990 for the Drystone Orchestra. The title is a portmanteau word from LETHE and ETHER and rhymes with ether. I was interested in making a piece about forgetting. This was triggered partly by a fanciful speculation I encountered as a boy, namely that all living things are equally capable and intelligent, and that they are distinguished only by how much they can remember. The reason, for instance, that trees do not care to move is simply that they do not know they have been in the same spot for very long. Also I was interested in the Victorian scientists’ notion of the ether, a palpable substance found everywhere in the universe, through which planets and even light moved, according to some theories; others postulated that everything in existence was actually made of ether in different forms. Attempts were made to calculate the weight of it, and to use it to explain the force of gravity. Lethe is, of course, the river of forgetting of Classical Hades, through which souls pass before being reborn into the world, stripped of memories of former lives.


There are three sections in the piece - the first and second are for piano alone, with only a few contributions from the other instruments. The last section introduces a sustained melody, and borrows from my anti-opera Aeneid Music.

This is the première performance by The Drystone Orchestra.


© John Abram 2017