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About this Piece

Los Angeles-based artist and CalArts graduate Julia Holter has released three full-length albums in the past three years: Tragedy, Exstasis, and Loud City Song. According to its press release, “Loud City Song is both a continuation and a furthering of the fiercely singular and focused vision displayed by its predecessors, taking as it does Holter’s rare gift for merging high concept, compositional prowess, and experimentation with pop sensibility, and applying it to a set of even more daringly beautiful arrangements and emotionally resonant songs.”

Memory Drew Her Portrait was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The composer has provided the following note:

Memory Drew Her Portrait is a complaint of the troubles of the heart, mind, and body in the absence of one’s lover. It is inspired by the text of medieval composer/poet Guillaume de Machaut’s Le Voir Dit (The Book of the True Poem, in the translation by R. Barton Plamer, edited by Daniel Leech-Wilkinson), a collection of letters between himself and a young lady, two lovers who rarely have a chance to see one another.

“Here, we hear one side of the story – the lover waiting for his lady who may never return, and the resulting hope, paranoia, pain, and delusion. The text was written first. The music was later set to the text, and was inspired a bit by both the cadence of medieval music and the fluidity and rambling of romantic harmonies.”