Op. 30b - Water Music
for Flute, Clarinet and Piano
Program Notes: Water Music for Flute, Clarinet & Piano, originally for Flute, Oboe, ‘Cello, Piano & Percussion, was commissioned by the Helix Collective, composed over the winter of 2014 and premiered in May as part of the ensembles’ ‘Movie Night’ initiative. Composed to be performed alongside American photographer, pioneer documentarian and avant-garde filmmaker Ralph Steiner’s 1929 silent short film H20, Water Music also functions as an independent piece that can be performed without the film. A version for Two Pianos was composed in the summer of 2014. Opening with spacious piano chords, whirlwind woodwind trills, atmospheric cello harmonics and subtle percussion timbres, a mood is immediately set of a gentle cascade of momentum. A brief surge of sound leads to a moment of tranquility before the flood gates open and the ostinato and melodic motives appear in a constantly changing rhythmic climate. After the tempestuous themes reach an anxious peak, a brief piano cadenza ushers in a maestoso section that reflects on the opening resonant harmonies and warms the musical climate to an andante espressivo. A pizzicato ‘cello, a ringing glockenspiel and rolling piano chords lead the way for a soaring and sentimental interpretation of the motivic figures from earlier, soon to be passed around through the entire ensemble and culminates into a subito adagio sostenuto. As the water muddies and thickens in Steiner’s film, the music does too. The rhythmic ostinato slowly begins to build as each instrument adds a new canonic layer in retrograde and contrary motion until it reaches its peak and quickly transitions back into the fast ostinato pattern with increasingly rhythmic ornamentations. As the water in the film begins to reflect the light shining onto it, the music begins to reflect its shimmering and sparkling brilliance with bold rhythmic intensity in the instruments upper registers before plunging to the seabed and resurfacing for one last breath.