The Waves

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Duration 18:00

The Waves was composed in 2018 with financial support from the Netherlands Chamber Choir. During a recent sabbatical in 2017-2018, I could not stop composing, feeling a strong need to write music about temporality and impermanence. Music is shaped sound, a vibration appearing and vanishing right after. The beauty of the swelling and fading of a single sound is captivating. The Waves was inspired by the timeless poetry of the 13th century Japanese poet Dogen. (poems below)

Simultaneously with the choir version, I wrote versions for string quartet, for string orchestra and for saxophone quartet (video below). In 2019, the string orchestra version was performed by the Amstel Strijkers, conducted by Marien van Staalen, and the sax quartet version was performed by both the American Prism Sax Quartet  in Philadelphia and New York City on June 2 & 3 2019 ) as well as the Dutch Syrène Quartet that same year. The choir version is dedicated to the Netherlands Chamber Choir and conductor Peter Dijkstra, who premiered it September 7 2019 at the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw, as part of the ‘Ark van Noach’ production. Special thanks to Tido Visser and Marien van Staalen for their support.

The Waves by Ned.Kamerkoor Sep 7 2019:

The Waves by Syrène Kwartet  Dec 7 2019:

dewdrops on a blade of grass,
little time before sunrise;
do not let not the autumn wind blow too soon

moonlight, empty sky
open sky, moonlight
empty as the open sky
empty mind
losing my self
losing my self
moonlight in dewdrops
open sky
clear moon, empty mind
the world is moonlight, reflected in dewdrops

the water is clear;
fish swim just like fish
the sky is empty;
birds fly just like birds and so do fish
fish swim just like fish
moonlight, emptiness, the open sky
I lose myself in shadows
a mind as empty as the open sky
empty mind, emptiness
clear moon

the bridge of dreams
floating on the brief spring night soon breaks off:
now, from the mountain top a cloud
takes leave into the open sky
little dewdrops on a blade of grass
so little time before sunrise;
let not the autumn wind blow too soon

Elhei Dogen, 1200