The Ninth Wave (2009) 11'

For wind ensemble.

Premiered by the Princeton University Wind Ensemble in Richardson Auditorium, 5/6/10. Self-published (Morningside Press, ASCAP).

Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky was impressed enough by sailors’ tales of massive "ninth waves" that he titled his 1850 masterpiece "The Ninth Wave." The painting depicts a tiny group of people clinging to the mast of their wrecked ship, still stranded in the middle of a merciless sea. Completely indifferent to their struggle, a beautiful sunrise (or, perhaps, sunset) dominates the work, shining through the chaos and casting the brutal waves in a strangely positive light. I used Aivazovsky's painting as a loose source of narrative inspiration for The Ninth Wave—you may hear a storm gather at sea, the sailors nearly beating the elements, and the panic of their eventual shipwreck. As they’re left adrift, battered and totally alone, the piece sways with slow, ambiguous harmonies, leaving us to wonder what ultimately will become of these shipwrecked men.

 

Listen:

Ivan Aivazovsky's "The Ninth Wave"

Ivan Aivazovsky's "The Ninth Wave"

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