Seahorse

(excerpt) Performed by Newband: Elizabeth Brown, theremin; Dean Drummond, guitar 1; Jared Soldiviero, harmonic canon 1; David Broom, chromolodeon; Bill Ruyle, diamond marimba; Joe Bergen, bass marimba; Joe Fee, zoomoozophone and juststrokerods

From Elizabeth Brown: Mirage New World 80751-2

Premiere performance, December 2008, Kasser Theater, Montclair State University Elizabeth Brown, theremin, with Dean Drummond conducting the MSU Harry Partch Ensemble.for theremin and Partch instruments (2008)

duration: 9:13

instrumentation: solo theremin with Partch instruments – harmonic canon 1, guitar 1, chromolodeon 1, diamond marimba, and bass marimba; and Dean Drummond’s juststrokerods and zoomoozophone.


program note

Seahorse traces the activities and dreams of a typical seahorse. It was written in Brooklyn, NY and at the MacDowell Colony in 2007-08. A solo theremin swims in an ocean of Partch instruments: harmonic canon 1, guitar 1, chromolodeon 1, diamond marimba, bass marimba, juststrokerods, and zoomoozophone. It is dedicated to Dean Drummond and commissioned by Montclair State University for its Harry Partch Ensemble, who presented the premiere with the composer playing theremin at MSU’s Kasser Theater in December 2008 on the annual Crawford Concert.

“Years ago at the Coney Island Aquarium, watching seahorses gliding quietly and swaying in the currents, I was reminded of what it feels like to play theremin, adrift on the etherwaves. When Dean Drummond asked me to write a piece for the Montclair University Harry Partch Ensemble, I realized that this would be the ideal instrumental environment for my seahorse theremin. I have a long history with Newband; this is the 3rd piece I’ve written for the Partch instruments. All my pieces were written on the instruments – I’ve learned each instrument’s technique and notation, and can play all the parts. This ability to write idiomatic and resonant music for each instrument was a strong reason Drummond asked me to write for the student ensemble, plus he suggested that if I was a soloist I could also coach the students — which I did.”

— Elizabeth Brown