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Sea-Change (1987)

for solo piano

It is hard to say the sea excites the imagination, without sounding clichéd. Yet its constant regeneration, its power and its myriad shapes, impressions and dramatic changes of colour are for me, overwhelming. As Shakespeare knew, the sea is also a metaphor for life.

Full Fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are corals made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him doth remian that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange
Sea nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them, - ding, dong bell.

The Tempest, Act I, Sc. ii

The work has a simple shape of two peaks and a calm, but not settled, end. The piece is constructed from an initial impetus consisting of three slowly rotating harmonic sequences of different duration - one in the left hand and one in the right hand in bell-like chords and the other moving through the piano's mid-range as arpeggios; these sequences revolve around each other eventually enmeshing and evolving at key points in the work. Sea-Change was commissioned by Bernard Lanskey in 1987 with financial assistance from the Music Board of the Australia Council.



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