Duration: c. 18:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Music Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts - $95.00 | Score Only - $15.00
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:
- Bass Drum
- Cymbals (suspended, large and small)
- Marimba (2)
- Tom-Toms (several sets)
None discovered thus far.
The three movements of Sea Drift derive their titles and inspiration from three poems in the Walt Whitman collection entitled Sea Drift. “Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking” is a poem that blends extended metaphor with a variety of techniques to deal with a tripartition core: birth, life (love), and death (rebirth). The poem is in the form of a childhood reminiscence, told by the poet about an experience involving a mockingbird that loses his mate, the sea, and the poet’s self-discovery of his poetic voice.
Much of this poem and the first movement of Sea Drift implies an undulating, rocking quality with music that rises and falls or swells and ebbs. Peaks of happiness plunge to troughs of despair, all against the background of the endlessly rocking cradle of life and death – the sea. The music of the first movement is filled with both the longing and the wave-like qualities suggested by Whitman’s poem. The sad song of the mockingbird is fused with the song of the poet and the whispers of the sea to form a unity and a reconciliation out of diversity and conflict. The poetic trio of bird-boy-sea is symbolized in the music by the timbres of flute/clarinet (oboe)/horn. The complete cycle of birth-life-death is suggested by an overall trajectory of cumulative and disintegrating textures, unfolding in music which is, by turn, lyrical/static, angular/dynamic/conflicting, and finally, song-like and static again.
The second movement, “On the Beach at Night,” evokes a reflective scene in which a father and child are contemplating a sky of shimmering stars, some of which appear to be devoured by ravenous dark cloud masses. Out of this symbolic celestial conflict, several stars, some delicate, some radiant, emerge victoriously, intimating the poet’s mystical intuition of the immortality of cosmic spirit. The music, marked sognando (dreaming), is built on an interplay of resonant, ringing sonorities. These sonorities range from delicate and gentle treble sounds to lustrous and richer full ensemble chords with sharp attacks and overlapping decays. The top notes of these chords outline song-like material heard earlier in the first movement.
The third movement, “Song for All Seas,” is marked Like wind over waves. This music, like that of movements one and two, is largely derived from the pitch materials first heard in the clarinet solo at the beginning of movement one. Here, however, these pitches are transformed into rhythmic and textural shapes that suggest the mercurial energy of the sea. Tranquil waves are quickly altered into aggressive surges of water and energy. The movement ends in climactic swells of colliding rhythmic figures which culminate in a final burst on B-flat.
Sea Drift was commissioned by the Delta Iota Chapter of Phi Mu Alha and the Sinfonia Foundation in celebration of Western Michigan University’s 25th Annual Spring Conference of Wind and Percussion Music, April 2, 1993.
- Program Note by Anthony Iannaccone
- ABA/Ostwald Prize (1995)
- Audio CD: Clarion Wind Symphony (Max Plank, conductor).
- Audio CD: Eastman Wind Ensemble (Donald Hunsberger, conductor).
- Audio CD: Rutgers Wind Symphony (William Berz, conductor).
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- J.P. Taravella High School Wind Orchestra (Neil Jenkins, conductor) - May 2007 (Florida Bandmasters Association State Music Performance Assessment)
Works for Winds by This Composer
- After a Gentle Rain (1979)
- Antiphonies (1972)
- Apparitions (1986)
- Images of Song and Dance No. 1: Orpheus (1979)
- Images of Song and Dance No. 2: Terpsichore (1981)
- Interlude (1970)
- Of Fire and Ice (1977)
- Plymouth Trilogy (1981)
- Psalms for a Great Country (1995)
- Scherzo (1976)
- Sea Drift (1993)
- Anthony Iannaccone - Official Website
- Miles, Richard B. 2000. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 529-536.