John Luther Adams' Become Ocean for Orchestra (Full score)
Over the years my orchestral music has become simpler and more expansive. Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing (1991-95) contains four different musical textures. In the White
Silence (1998) has three. For Lou Harrison (2002) reduces this to just two. In Dark Waves (2007), I finally got to one. When I first heard that piece I began to wonder if I could sustain a
similar sound for a longer span of time. The result is Become Ocean, a meditation on the vast, deep and mysterious tides of existence.
The title is borrowed from a mesostic verse that John Cage wrote in honor of Lou Harrison's birthday. Likening Harrison's music to a river in delta, Cage writes:
LiStening to it we becOme oceaN.
Life on this earth first emerged from the sea. And as the polar ice melts and sea level rises, we humans find ourselves facing the prospect that once again we may quite literally become ocean."
– John Luther Adams