Oceans: waves merge with the bright sky

Oceans: waves merge with the bright sky
  1. Oceans: waves merge with the bright sky0:00

[performed live by Cello Ensemble XTC]
instrumentation :  5 cellos

2013
duration :  12'45”
commissioned by Masaki Hasebe for Cello Ensemble XTC
premiere :  4.9.13 Cello Ensemble XTC, UT-9 | Tokyo


        Oceans
belongs to a small set of my pieces in which the aimlessness of the music betrays a traditional musical experience. Here the music drifts from stillness to violence with disregard for expectation. I love the feeling that a work of art communicates not what the artist desires, but only what he is able to perceive; the work, like nature, is a piece of something far more vast than we can imagine.

        This piece is partly based on the Sea Organ (morske orgulje) of Zadar, Croatia. A boardwalk covers immense underwater chambers which react acoustically to the waves against the shore. The sounds are projected above-ground for pedestrians to hear, and the result is amazingly beautiful—throbbing, gently rocking harmonies stretch and become warped at the whim of the ocean. Recordings of this sculpture inspired the harmonies and strained intonation of this piece.

        Another inspiration is a poem by the Japanese poet Fujiwara no Tadamichi:

As I row over the plain
Of the sea and gaze
Into the distance, the waves
Merge with the bright sky.

This poem succinctly conveys the vastness of water, and also the ways in which nature's immensity can disguise itself. Nature both commands attention and rejects it.

Full Score — pdf