Sea of Reeds

Instrumentation: Amplified clarinet & electronics
Duration: 13:45
Commission: Clarinetist F. Gerard Errante
Premiere: 5/6/97
F. Gerard Errante
Virginia Waterfront International Arts Festival, Norfolk, VA

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Program Note:
The title Sea of Reeds was inspired by the Biblical story of the Israelites crossing out of Egypt through Yom Soof, or the Sea of Reeds, and by the physical characteristics of the clarinet, with its conjunction of reed on wood. The decision to compose the work for a clarinet that uses a two-foot PVC tube extension, as well as live electronics, developed as I collaborated with clarinetist F. Gerard Errante. I was intrigued by the wide range of fascinating sounds that spanned the gap between noise and pitch and was particularly taken with those created using cardboard extensions inserted into the bottom of the instrument, as Donald Martino did in his piece B.A.B.B.I.T.T. This led to a trip to the hardware store for PVC tubing and later to the wrapping of the tubing with cork so that it would better hold in the instrument.

The music of Sea of Reeds is about crossing into new territories and in that sense reminiscent of the Israelites going forth on their journey. From the opening tranquillity, to the Tibetan-mountain-horn sounds of the long tube, to the musical shadows and syncopations created by delay and reverb effects, the music crosses into the realm of the spirit, just as it crosses from the traditional sounds of the instrument into the new world opened up by their electronic transfiguration. Sea of Reeds is dedicated to F. Gerard Errante.–JS

Press Quote:
“…Shatin’s Sea of Reeds was one of the most engaging works heard during the festival. The electronics were deftly managed…” [North Carolina State University Computer Music Festival]
Classical Voice, North Carolina

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