Transpacific Tides

Solo Clarinet

World Premiere: October 4, 2016 at the Jacobs School of Music

Program notes:

Transpacific Tides aims to evoke the complex emotions one feels at a time of transition. From a very personal standpoint, I wrote the piece thinking about my oldest sister, Emily, and her major transition moving across the ocean to Sydney, Australia. The reference to “tides” in the title reflects on the many highs and lows one experiences during a time of transition, which are manifested in feelings of curiosity, excitement, apprehension, anxiety, and resolution. These are the emotions on which I focused while composing this work because I know from my conversations with Emily that they are a very real part of this new experience.

Throughout the piece, I make use of various double-trills with hairpin crescendos/diminuendos, creating wavelike motions reminiscent of the Pacific tides. The lydian-raised fourth on the second double trill in each sequence helps to evoke the importance of curiosity, of having an open mind, when embarking on new experiences. At the expression marking “With urgency,” the mood of curiosity is shoved to the side as more intense feelings of anxiety and apprehension settle in, feelings that I believe are completely normal when transitioning, but still difficult to manage nonetheless. Emily has expressed how she has occasionally second-guessed her decision to move to the other side of the planet, and these emotions can also run quite high for her loved ones back at home. This section uses dissonance, stringent articulation, multiphonics, and rhythmic disjunction to create an ambiance of tension. That tension is released in the last section of the piece, a section with asomewhat atmospheric and airy quality to it that promotes meditation. This contemplative texture allows the piece to both musically and emotionally come to a resolution, a resolution in one’s confidence to succeed in times of transition.