I am inspired by the sea. Inspired to understand the way it moves, meanders, ebbs, flows, heaves, and crashes. Others are inspired by the sea to create. Inspired to dance, draw, perform, paint, and compose. It is this last genre that I want to highlight with a selection of ocean-inspired symphonies. I like to think of them as bringing all the ocean to our ears.
ex Oceano – Matthew Dewey
I’ll start with this video introduction to ex Oceano by composer Matthew Dewey of Australia. He teamed up with scientists Nick Roden and Rob Johnson to create this enchanting piece of music. Unfortunately I could not find the whole piece online, so you will just have to be satisfied with this wonderful tidbit (but I’ll admit I wanted more!).
Become Ocean – John Luther Adams
If you like Phillip Glass, then you will really enjoy Become Ocean. According to John Luther Adams, this piece was inspired by the seas near Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Clearly he was doing something right, because this piece won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music. You can listen to the entire thing here: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/21/348962229/first-listen-john-luther-adams-become-ocean
La Mer – Claude Debussy
La Mer is one of Debussy’s most popular pieces and for good reason. If there was a piece that could capture the many moods of the sea then this is it. There is the magical sea, where anemones and seaweeds sway in the currents. There is the mischievous sea, where adorable fish fry chase each other amongst the mangroves. And finally there is the angry sea, where waves toss ships at their leisure. A timeless piece that had me captivated.