Seasons of the Sea

First Nations storyteller, solo violin, strings and harpsichord

Instrumentation First Nations storyteller; solo violin; strings (11111) or chamber orchestral strings; harpsichord (two-manual)

Timing ca. 40′ (ca. 20′ music only)

Composed 2016

Commissioned by Vetta Chamber Music with assistance from the British Columbia Arts Council and the Deux Mille Foundation

World Premiere April 27, 2016, ArtSpring Island Arts Centre, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Joan Blackman, violin; Rosemary Georgeson, storyteller; Vetta Chamber Music

Performance note This work is intended to be performed with spoken word by Coast Salish/Sahtu Dene storyteller Rosemary Georgeson (ca. 40′), but may be performed as a purely instrumental violin concerto (ca. 20′)

Programme Notes

Anyone who lives next to salt water knows how the sea shapes and marks the passing of each year. Living on the west coast of Canada, I have come to notice the way the sea changes: the sparkling blue in the high summer sun, the wind-stirred waves in the fall, the turn to dark grey in winter, the calming and warming of the spring. For those whose livelihood depends on the sea, knowing, respecting and honouring these changes is a part of daily life.

Commissioned by Vancouver’s Vetta Chamber Music as a companion piece to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and created in collaboration with Coast Salish/Sahtu Dene storyteller Rosemary Georgeson, Seasons of the Sea begins at the December solstice, the longest night here, when the sea is dangerous and people stay close. As the year progresses, each solstice and equinox marked by a solo violin cadenza, spring emerges, the salmon make their summer return, the autumn fog rolls in, the wind picks up, and finally we return to the beginning and a new cycle.

Seasons of the Sea is dedicated to Joan Blackman in celebration of Vetta’s 30th anniversary season.

PDF score excerpts

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Audio excerpts

Video

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