Rings of Winter Harbor

Rings of Winter Harbor

[performed by Alea III; Theodor Antoniou, conductor]
instrumentation :  two subgroups—
[English horn + bassoon + French horn + trumpet + trombone + cello + double bass]
[harp + vibraphone + percussion + harpsichord]

2011
duration :  8’00”
commissioned by ALEA III
premiere :  3.28.11 ALEA III; Theodor Antoniou, conductor | Boston


        I am attracted to the relationship between music and space. Metaphorically, the "space" of this piece is the surface of water in a dormant harbor. This image comes from Yukio Mishima's novel The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea, in which crucial episode takes place on the docks of an industrial port during winter, but the music bears no other connection to the book's plot.
        Spacially, my piece is divided into two groups, the quartet located close the audience, and the septet seated farther back on the stage. Over the course of the piece they execute an exchange of two musical ideas- a sustained Bb, and a web of short, nervous sounds. The piece is sculpted in waves, heard in the rising and falling of dynamics, and the overall level of activity. The passing of the sustained pitch from the back of the stage to the front is an object approaching slowly over the surface of the water, while the receding of the pointillistic material is the vanishing reflections of light on the harbor.