Quiet Sea


About Quiet Sea


1 piccolo
1 flute
1 oboe
2 clarinets in Bb (II = bass clarinet in Bb)
2 bassoons

1 horn in F



Program Note

While visiting my family’s home in the summer of 2014 I found a copy of the Oxford Book of Sea Songs.

I’d been listening to a good bit of Charles Ives recently so decided to pick a few of the songs to set against one another, essentially to see how they would sound. The songs I selected were John Dory, A Joyful New Ballad, and The Seamen and Soldiers’ Last Farewell to Their Dear Jewels. After a few bars (and a few tonal adjustments) I knew I was on to something.

During that summer I also visited Emerald Bay, on Catalina Island, where I spent every summer growing up. It was the first time I’d been back in three or four years.

Hanging out on the dock or on a moored boat late at night at the end of summer, whether with friends or alone, is one of my favorite places to be. It’s hard to put it into words, but it gives me a combined feeling of cool peacefulness and the warmth of being home. It’s also one of the rare places that I’m able to get out of my own head and just exist and be present in the moment.

I remembered how this felt by getting back there and experiencing it again, and tried to capture it in the colors of a quartet titled Quiet Harbor, from 2015. Quiet Sea is essentially an expansion of that piece.