For its 2009 Season, the L.A. Musical Salon commissioned multi-talented composer Jenni Brandon to write a new work for piano, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, as part of her composer’s residency with the Vientos Trio during their 2008-2009 concert season.
The result was the exquisite Sea Quartet, which had its world premiere at the L.A. Musical Salon on March 7, 2009, performed by the Vientos Trio with Los Angeles Musical Salon Artist in Residence pianist Rose Chen. Garnering an immensely enthusiastic response from the audience, Sea Quartet is a beautiful and welcome addition to the repertoire for this instrumentation.
A video of the world premiere of Sea Quartet at the Los Angeles Musical Salon can be seen above (approx. 5-1/2 minutes). For audio only: : SeaQuartetAudio
Following are the program notes for Sea Quartet from the March 7, 2009 concert:
for piano, oboe, clarinet and bassoon
Music by Jenni Brandon
Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.
— From “The Secret of the Sea”
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Sea Quartet for piano, oboe, clarinet and bassoon was inspired by the beautiful ocean beside which we live, as well as the many trips I have taken to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. This magical place brings to us the beauty of the sea—from the creatures that call the sea their home, to the delicate coral reefs and fragile ecosystems that depend on the balance of the sea for their survival.
This work uses each of the instruments to tell the story of the sea in various sections, from the playful waves to a “watery waltz”; from the “gentle pulse of the wave” to the clarinet’s “moonlight” solo.
The relative calmness of the sea finally begins to break as the waves move faster and faster, creating a “wild, frothy frenzy” at the end of the piece. At this point, the instruments joyfully crash over one another, and we are left with the feeling of the power and excitement of the sea.
Sea Quartet was commissioned by the L.A. Musical Salon as part of my composer residency with the Vientos Trio this season, and written specifically for world premiere at the L.A. Musical Salon on March 7, 2009 in a performance by the Vientos Trio with Rose Chen, piano.
— Jenni Brandon, Composer