Amnesia Barrier (2009) by Christopher Trebue Moore
for flute, cello, and piano
World premiere; Earplay commission

The title of this piece refers to an effect that can occur as a direct result of prolonged sessions of ECT, otherwise known as "electroshock therapy." At the behest of certain secretive elements of the CIA, between the years 1957 and 1964 numerous individuals were deliberately subjected to regular sessions of ECT (often at 30 to 40 times the level of power normally considered "effective" by standards of the time), supposedly intended to treat disorders as common as postpartum depression and ordinary anxiety, without the informed consent of the patients. However, in reality the true motivation for such a crude, despotic approach was far more duplicitous, having more to do with a conscious attempt on the part of megalomaniacal doctors to create brainwashed sleeper agents through a process of wiping a patient’s memory clean with ECT and subsequently inducing a prolonged state of coma using a combination of powerful drugs. This technique would hypothetically create the opportunity for a psychiatrist to ultimately rebuild the psyche in whatever way he chooses by planting false memories. Naturally, the only tangible effects of such a barbaric method were long-term brain damage and permanent memory loss, hence the term "Amnesia Barrier".

— C. T. M.    

[from program for May 24, 2010 concert]