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Lunar seas

composer
premiered on 9 November 2010

 
The surface of the Moon is covered with large dark basaltic plains originally formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. Early astronomers mistook these for actual seas, dubbing them by the Latin term, Maria, and ascribing names and characters to the many such plains that cover the Moon’s surface. Christopher Painter’s short suite of pieces for saxophone quartet take names given to these imaginary seas and lakes, extending the original concept and bringing to them the drama and associations of the Earth’s seascapes. The pun contained within the title pays affectionate tribute to the group who commissioned the work: the Lunar Saxophone Quartet. The work is cast in five movements. In the first Lacus gaudii (Lake of joy), shifting metrical changes reflects the saxophone’s jazz-like associations. The second, Mare vaporum (Sea of vapours) conjures the mysterious vapours that appear to rise from this 'sea'. In it, indefinite pitches are suggested as the players breathe through their instruments, with more focused melodic lines emerging periodically. The melodic contours of the third movement, Mare anguis (Serpent sea), suggest the fanciful shapes of sea serpents that early astronomers perceived in this sea, situated on the near side of the Moon and some 150 miles in diameter. Lacus doloris (Lake of sorrows) forms a dark undulating slow movement whilst the finale, Mare procellarum (Ocean of storms) brings the work to a lively and brilliant conclusion. Lunar seas was commissioned by the LSQ and was first heard at a concert given at Lampeter University on 9 November 2010.

from notes by Peter Reynolds © 2010

Recordings

These visions
Studio Master: SIGCD233Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

Movement 1: Lacus gaudii 'Lake of joy'
Track 5 on SIGCD233 [1'50] Download only
Movement 2: Mare vaporum 'Sea of vapours'
Track 6 on SIGCD233 [1'54] Download only
Movement 3: Mare anguis 'Serpent sea'
Track 7 on SIGCD233 [1'06] Download only
Movement 4: Lacus doloris 'Lake of sorrows'
Track 8 on SIGCD233 [1'32] Download only
Movement 5: Mare procellarum 'Ocean of storms'
Track 9 on SIGCD233 [1'22] Download only

Track-specific metadata

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