'A remarkable rightness and economy of gesture.’   The Independent

Instrumentation

fl(=picc).cl - pno

Availability

Score and parts on special sale

Programme Notes

Scored for soprano and three instruments, this piece belongs to a cycle of works I wrote between 1988 and 1995, of which Tiramisu is also a member. The pieces were not particularly meant to be programmed together, but they set down certain harmonic, rhythmic and modal policies.

I abandoned microtones at this point, despite my interest in spectral tunings, because I thought that spectral theory would be more interesting if the differences between pitches were greater, not smaller. Also, I wanted to move around faster, so I developed modes based on spectra – in this case on C, B-flat and D – but with equal-tempered intervals. I was also interested in displaced downbeats, in having a play between the notated metre and what was heard. At the same time, there’s an oblique homage to the lean textures of Copland’s Short Symphony, particularly at the start of the second movement, because I wanted something clean, clear, ruthless, crystalline.

I chose Whitman because I love the poem but also because it offered some very strong images I could extract, like the repeated ‘shine’ in the second movement, answered by ‘blow’ in the third.

Julian Anderson

Reviews

‘An astute response to poetic texts articulated with a powerful sense of drama and shaping and a remarkable rightness and economy of gesture.’
The Independent (Keith Potter) 13 February 1994

'Sea Drift daringly took as its starting-point the Whitman poem that inspired Delius, but came up with something very different: much sharper and more angular…’
The Independent (Stephen Johnson), 14 February 1994

‘An evocative sense of poetry…’
Ham & High (A.D.), 18 February 1994

‘Economic clarity and a rhythmic bite… notable for an invigorating jazzy-cum-folkloristic instrumental interlude.’
The Sunday Times (Paul Driver), 20 February 1994

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