Never the Same River
for 5 players

Composition Date: 2013
Duration: 00:09:30
Genre: Mixed Chamber Ensembles (1 to 9 Performers), Quintets, Woodwind(s), Keyboard(s) / Bowed String(s)


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Bassoon
  • 1 x Piano
  • 2 x Violin
  • 1 x Violoncello
Programme Note:
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”
- Heraclitus

The above aphorism, attributed to pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (quoted by Plato in the dialogue Cratylus), expresses a view of the universe as being in a constant state of change. A musical analogue to this concept of impermanence is the chaconne, a Baroque form wherein a constantly repeating pattern (e.g. harmonic progression, bass line, etc.) provides a foundation for a process of continuous variation, decoration, figuration, and melodic invention.
Never the Same River is a texture-based composition that attempts to embody Heraclitus’s philosophy of simultaneous constancy and flux. The work is built on a perpetually repeating 25-note theme that serves as a vehicle for the gradual textural development of the musical surface. The five instruments of the ensemble act as independent musical streams whose ever-shifting interactions conspire to effectuate a large-scale rhythmic, melodic, articulative, registral, and dynamic intensification. At the peak of this textural crescendo, the music buckles under its own weight and breaks off into disconnected fragments that struggle to rekindle the musical flow.
The work was composed for and premiered by ICE at the New Music on the Point festival (VT) in spring 2013. It earned an honorable mention in Lake George Music Festival's 2014 composition competition, and has won call for scores for the University of Maryland's TEMPO Ensemble, the University of Iowa's New Music Symposium in 2014, and the NYC-based Ensemble 212's 2015 "New Music for Young Audiences" competition.

Premiere Information:
June 15 2013, Burlington, VT, USA; Members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), New Music on the Point Festival.


  • Call Number:
  • MI 8515 S779ne
  • Genre:
  • Mixed Chamber Ensembles (1 to 9 Performers), Quintets, Woodwind(s), Keyboard(s) / Bowed String(s)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • January 13, 2016
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 partition (vi, 24 p.) ;
    30 Pages
    Height: 36 cm
    Width: 28 cm
    Parts page count: 44
    5 parties
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Pour 5 musiciens: Basson, 2 violons, violoncelle et piano. (Chef optionnel)
    En 1 mouvement.
    Oeuvre déposée au CMC Québec.

    For 5 players: Bassoon, two violins, cello, and piano. (Conductor optional)
    In 1 movement.

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