Sweet New Arrival: Become Ocean

Happy October! If you’re not buried in a punk documentary and are more the modern enviro-classical type, you’ll love our sweet new arrival!

John Luther Adams' new album, Become Ocean, comes out Sept. 30.

NPR recently did a “First Listen” feature on John Luther Adams, an Alaskan experimental composer whose previous works include a piece for 9 to 99 percussionists and a piece where the audience walks through the performing musicians. However, the focus of this feature was Adams’ new piece, a Pulitzer-winning work for three mini-orchestras called Become Ocean.

Become Ocean, like its forebear La Mer (Debussy), is meant to evoke, well, the ocean. The NPR review describes it as “sweeping… briny surges of sound”. The journalist also waxes philosophical on the implications of an ocean-themed piece in a time where the ocean is in flux due to global climate change. Whether or not this is but an intellectualizing of the art or not, the piece is a beautiful one.

And now you can play it, thanks to your friendly neighborhood Music Library! We just received the score this week. While you may not yourself be three mini-orchestras, you can still familiarize yourself with it, learn every part, show it to your conductor, whatnot. Here it is, get lost in the sea.