oceann OCEAN – for Violin and Piano (10/2010) 6’49”

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Composed in response to the BP Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico… where creatures are still dying, Ocean tells a story.  Imagine you are a whale father or mother swimming peacefully in mildly turbulent waters… then you encounter a deadly swath of oily water and watch your child drown while you are unable to help her.  There are many aspects to this piece, and moments of arrival and beauty… It ends with an emotional scream meant to make people feel the reality of what is happening to creatures there… creatures as intelligent as we are and who have an even much larger part of their brains dedicated to emotion.

There are many reasoned arguments concerning environmental preservation. But we must also make people feel it… and this is something the arts can address.

I’ve been writing music recently which addresses the concerns of environmentalism. I believe composers should be concerning themselves with issues whenever possible, the result being a piece that is, perhaps… more relevant to audiences. The piece I composed before OCEAN is titled Hudson Valley Music – in it I have musicians performing against a backdrop of hundreds of natural sounds… sounds which I’ve gathered and composed with. There is also a visual component to Hudson Valley Music – for more on HVM visit this project page link: Hudson Valley Music. HVM tells a story and delivers a powerful message – and at the beginning I composed with ocean sounds and whale-song.

In OCEAN I took the whale-song and turned it into thematic content. OCEAN begins with the depiction of a seascape – somewhat turbulent, very passionate – with waves crashing on the shore. In the latter section, ‘Oil in the Water’, the music expresses outrage at what we are doing to our oceans. This music deals with the conditions and issues of our time in a direct and timely way. The expressive ending sounds an appeal to the audience as if the musicians are channeling the message of the great intelligent creatures of our magnificent oceans.

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