Tide Pools for Bassoon and Cello


This work was inspired by the Pacific Ocean and its tide pools, but also the art of Jennifer Keresztes.



When I first started to write this work I thought I would tell two separate stories – one of the ocean, its ebb and flow between high and low tide, and then the stories of the creatures that lie in the tide pools.  As I began to write, however, I realized that there is a strongly symbiotic relationship between these elements.  The creatures, always present, appear and disappear under the frothy flow of the water.  We glimpse them briefly before the waters swirl and darken, and it is finally when the ocean recedes during low tide that the treasures of these tide pools are fully, yet briefly, exposed.  Throughout this work the ocean flows and froths, submerges and swells, coming and going, and offering glimpses of the creatures that make their living in the folds and crevices of shoreline rocks.  The creatures are submerged and finally hidden in a never-ending give and take of survival and beauty.

Description of the sections of this one-movement work:
I. Tidal swirls: A glimpse of what lies below…

  • Swirling and Frothy
  • Dance of the Striped Shore Crab
  • Languid and Fluid: The Sea Star
  • The Adaptable sculpin – the 7/8 represents the sculpin’s ability to adapt to an uneven existence – sometimes surviving for a period of time trapped in the tide pool under a hot sun, sometimes moving out to sea with high tide.
  • Beautiful pull of the tide: The California Mussel appears

    II. Low Tide: In the shallows
  • Purple sea urchin
  • Black turban snail hiding in the rocks
  • The tide begins to come in, churning and swirling, wildly joyful

    This work was commissioned by Christin Webb (bassoon) and premiered with Jeness Johnson (cello) at the Laguna Museum of Art in May 2017 – a wonderful location along the Pacific Ocean for a premiere of a work about Southern California tide pools.  This work was created as part of a commissioning consortium, and a huge thank you to Christin and these co-commissioners who helped bring this work to life through their support and performances:
    Scott Pool – bassoon
    Cory Barger – bassoon
    Patrick W. Price – supporter
    Stephen Phelps – supporter


Additional information

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