for voice and ensembleflute (doubling piccolo), Bb clarinet, trumpet, percussion, harp, piano/celeste, and cello (1982)
|Premiere||December 6, 1982; Monday Evening Concerts at the LA County Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Joan La Barbara, voice|
During June 1982 I spent several days at the seaport village of Vlissingen in southern Holland. The beach outside my windows, though beautiful, was deserted and the large wooden jetties jutting out into the water beckoned like pathways to an infinite space. The ocean floor dropped off so suddenly that huge tankers rumbled by just fifty yards or so offshore.
Something about the place intrigued me, and I knew I would try to recapture its spirit. Vlissingen Harbor, then, gives a sense of what I saw and heard and felt there: the blinking lights in the darkness of ships anchored offshore, the dauntless windsurfers braving stormy seas and competing for space with huge commercial vessels, the fog, the wooden passageways to the sea, the contrast of constant motion and endless empty beaches, the isolation and serenity. The visual images are sonically reflected in the instrumental and vocal sounds. Once can imagine approaching tankers, the wind, and the boathorns over the ongoing patterns and meter changes and, in the ending breath chorus for all 8 players, one hears the rolling waves, moving sands and one's own fantasy.
- Joan La Barbara