Year: 2012

Heading: for orchestra

Instrumentation: 3(III=picc).2.corA.2.Bcl.2.Cbsn

First Performance:
5 June 2013
Symphony Orchestra of the NCPA
National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Duration: 10:00

Program Note:

honoring Island Nations in crisis,
especially those low-lying in the Maldives, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Tokelau, and Papua New Guinea

“Archipelago” means a group of islands.  Originally it was the name of the Aegean Sea, but because that body of water has so many islands the word gradually came to mean a group or chain of islands.  In Greek, arkhi means “chief” and pelagos means “sea.”  And so when we think of the lower Island nations in distress, they are indeed at the mercy of the sea, humbled by the sea—the sea has become their cruel and heartless “chief.”

It will take considerable determination and united effort to reverse the trend of rising sea levels.  It may require something like an executive “fiat,” a multi-national decree to improve what is a global problem.  The music, with its insistent pulse, reminds us of that determination.  Still, the pulse leads us through different variations of emotion.  These Island nations are not abstract, but made up of lively, colorful people in a natural wonder that is both beautiful and vibrant.

Commissioned by the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, for the World Environmental Day concert, 2013.  World Premiere presented by the Symphony Orchestra of the NCPA on 5 June 2013.