SEASCAPE "... consider a wave ..."

 

"Seascape" is an essay in words and music about the relationships between an artist and his subject (the sea), and between the sea and a community which is dependent upon it both for its living and recreation. Bob Devereux's colourful and vivid text explores these relationships in three distinct sections. The first is a dialogue between the artist and the sea - the artist concerned with the sea as a kaleidoscope of changing shapes and colours, without reference to its influence on man. The sea replies in the second section with a description of its role as a source of recreation for the population of a coastal town, especially for its children. The final section shows the power which the sea exerts over a fishing community, and the terrible toll it demands in terms of human life.

 

These three sections are closely mirrored in the musical structure, in a continuous arch-like form which begins and ends in darkness, with off-stage trumpet and horn calls. The slow atmospheric opening which leads to an agitated baritone solo, is balanced at the end by a fast section for both soloists, followed by a slow lament for all the forces. In between the choir has an altogether more relaxed and gentle passage describing the children playing at the water's edge.

 

"Seascape" was commissioned by Brian Smart to celebrate the centenary in 1981 of the birth of his father, the Cornish artist Borlase Smart. Borlase Smart was a distinguished painter of seascapes, and the author of an important book on seascape painting. He lived for much of his life in St. Ives, Cornwall, and played a major role in building the fame of the art colony there.

 

"Seascape" is scored for Reciter, Soprano and Baritone soloists, Chorus and Brass Quintet, and was given its first performance in the St. Ives September Festival in 1981.

 

 

Christopher Brown 1990