“It’s 2004. I am taking my first composition course at Mount Allison University. I have recently become enamoured of new music and am catching up on a long list of listening in the basement of the Alfred Whitehead Memorial Music Library. I come across Memory Forms (2001), a serene-looking disc with a still-life pear standing out from a dark background. I put on my giant headphones, plug them into the ’90s-period CD player, insert the disc, and hit play on Moi Qui Tremblais.
Slightly asymmetrical, softly repeated piano chords fill the space, the shadow of an inner melody being picked out. While the piano chords slowly spin to reveal their different angles, a velvety hybrid sound of bass drum and cymbal counters the piano effects. A single violin note emerges, incredibly quiet but persistent, changing to a harmonic shimmer, much as the wind shifts. The music sways within narrow dimensions that pretend to be quite contained, and yet the drama created by these irregular shifts has the thrill and unpredictability of waves hitting the sand.
Who is Linda Catlin Smith? I wonder…”