Desert Island Pieces
Ruminations on a Troubled Planet
Dedicated to Rebels, Idealists, Individualists and Passionate
Celebrators of Life Worldwide
Commissioned by the Bakken Trio
Piano Trio and Electronics
I. The Loneliness of the Sun
II. Aloiloi, Pakuikui The Fast Shallows
III. Ghosts of the Evening Tide
IV. The Roaring of the Moon
The work explores states of isolation and passion. The Desert Island is the
earth, or the individual, or the perceived isolation of the individual, the
myopic view from the crowded jungle within. There is a blurring between the
reflection on the surface of ape eyes and the neuron-powered dreamscape behind
the optic nerve.
What happens when one is alone, without anothers cerebral drift to check
the wandering of the reality curve?
The gulls have voices, filled with outrage, anguish and disdain. They sing out
over the waves, but cannot pierce the surface. Below, the ageless tortoises
glide slowly, nonchalant in their deep green canyons.
The sky is brilliant blue, and hot, and the water is brilliant and cool, deep
... and so at last return to the sea ...
The waves crash endlessly overhead, endlessly they smash the sand and slap with
giant, heavy hand the glassy face of the beach.
Underneath, Silently, the roar of heavy current with cold, strong finger pushes
hard on terrestrial ear drums, and the ancient dance continues half-remembered
songs consummated unconsciously in the endless watery moonlight.
March 31, 2003
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Joseph Waters (born September 16, 1952 in Jackson, Michigan, USA) studied composition
at Yale University, the Universities of Oregon and Minnesota, and Stockholms
Musikpedagogiska Institut. His primary teachers were Jacob Druckman, Bernard
Rands, Roger Reynolds, Dominick Argento, Martin Bresnick, Robert Kyr and Jeffrey
An active composer of acoustic, electro-acoustic and inter-disciplinary works,
Joseph Waters belongs to the first generation of classical composers that grew
up playing in rock bands. Throughout his career he has been intrigued by the
connections, confluences, and tensions which entangle and bind the great musics
of Europe and Africa. Much of his work involves interactions between electronic
and acoustic instruments. He has been involved in Inter-disciplinary and collaborative
works on and off since the early 1980's.
His works are regularly performed around the world.
Joseph Waters is the Artistic Director of the New West Electro-Acoustic Music
Organization (NWEAMO) in Portland, Oregon. He also founded and co-directed Network
for New Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the 1980s.
He has received numerous awards in composition, including National Endowment
for the Arts/Rockefeller Foundation (through the Painted Bride Arts Center,
Philadelphia), Regional Arts and Culture Council and Pennsylvania Council on
the Arts grants.
He is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Electro-Acoustic and Media
Composition at San Diego State University.