… Adams downplays the politics of Become Ocean, which had its debut in June under the commission of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Ludovic Morlot, and won the Pulitzer Prize for music this year. “Too often political art fails as both art and politics,” he says. Adams goes on:
Art needs no justification other than itself. Yet, I also believe that music can serve as a sounding model for the renewal of human consciousness and human culture and that it can invite us to listen more deeply to expand our awareness of this miraculous world that we live in.
So like everybody these days I think a lot, I think all the time, about climate change, and as I composed Become Ocean I had very much in my mind images of the melting of the polar ice and the rising of the seas. But I hope it transcends any metaphors, transcends its title, to become a purely musical world of its own.
The immense musical world of Become Ocean borrows its title from a tiny mesostic poem John Cage wrote in honor of his friend and fellow composer, Lou Harrison. “It’s a beautiful little poem in which Cage likens Lou’s music to a river in delta. And I just loved that image of listening, of music, as a stream that leads us toward oceanic consciousness,” Adams says.
The Cage connection goes beyond the name. Musically, Adams draws most directly from the post-war American avant-garde, including Cage and Morton Feldman. Like these artists, Adams is fascinated with fluidity: how sound and the environment blend.
“I’ve been obsessed, well, all my creative life with place as music but also music as place,” Adams says.
Water and landscape have long been themes of the John Cage school of minimalist music, and of Adams’ own career; Become Ocean follows Adams’ Dark Waves, a slow, slate-blue-colored piece for orchestra and electronics, from 2007.
Reposted according to copyright notice from: Radio Open Source