Seascape (2014)

Duration: 6-7′

Instrumentation: flute/alto flute/shakuhachi, oboe/english horn, clarinet/bass clarinet, alto saxophone/sho, duduk, sarangi, qanun, zheng, sheng, kemençe, percussion (2 players), harp, violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass

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“What is any ocean but a multitude of drops?”
– David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Seascape was written for the first Atlas Ensemble Composers Competition. It was premiered by the Atlas Ensemble at the Muziekgebouw aan’t 1J in Amsterdam on 7 September, 2014, conducted by Artyom Kim. As I have never written for an ensemble of a combination with Asian and European instruments, the challenge to create a body of work to balance both sound worlds was daunting. I investigated the non-western instruments that resonated with my style as a composer, and therefore created an atmospheric and haunting landscape that embraces both forces from the two continents. I decided to explore the voices and densities of the sea, as some of the Asian instruments in this piece often depict the fluidity and density of water. Seascape includes various motifs represents sounds and clichés from the ocean, notably waves, water currents, drones, and ship foghorns. In addition, this work illuminates a melancholic and meditative experience for the listener.


Also, special thanks to Anne Breathwick for sharing her artwork on my site (Seascape, oil on canvas, 2008).