Faye-Ellen Silverman


Year: 2013

Duration (in minutes): 15.5'39;

Difficulty: Medium (college/community)

Category: solo woodwind with piano

Publisher: Subito Music Corporation

Description: “Orchestral Tides” (2013) is a five-movement work about the positive and negative aspects of water scored for clarinet and chamber orchestra. “Tides (2013) is the clarinet-piano version of this work. Prologue introduces the motive that will run through several parts of this work - the notes Eb E A (SEA in English) –taken from Takemitsu, who uses it in several compositions. He is quoted both in tribute to a musical tradition that includes Debussy and to show the universality of the theme. The second movement - Calm Seas - starts and returns to static motion. A calm sea has both negative and positive implications – good for swimming, historically bad for ships relying on sails. This duality is represented by the alternation of beat divisions between twos and threes. This movement quotes a few notes from “Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage” – the Mendelssohn overture quoted by Elgar in his thirteenth Enigma Variation. In the twentieth century, the main characters of Berg’s Wozzeck, Britten’s Peter Grimes, and Smyth’s The Wreckers die by drowning. Drowned at Sea – movement three – ties in with this idea generally. The movement relies heavily on descending motions. The actual opening pitches come from my quote of the Mendelssohn in the previous movement. The fourth movement is called Shared Waters. One place where water is scarce is in the Middle East. The Jordan-Israeli peace treaty calls for sharing the waters of the Jordan River. So this movement is based on the very popular Arabic song – “Ah Ya Zein” – chosen in consultation with a Lebanese friend, and the Jewish song “Mayim-Mayim”, which talks about “drawing water out of the wells of salvation”. Both are popularly used for dance, and are upbeat. The movement starts with opening chords that include the Middle Eastern augmented second, descending as in the previous movement. Fragments of both tunes emerge, and combine in counterpoint, and finally join together to form a new tune – my personal plea for peace for this troubled region. Both of these quoted tunes also use the half step prominently, and thus connect with the other movements of this piece. The tempo keeps accelerating, and the movement ends joyously. The fifth movement – Epilogue – returns to the opening tempo. The work ends with the sea motive.

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