Quiet Harbor

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for flute, clarinet, violin, and cello (2015)

Composer: Nick Norton
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Composer: Nick Norton
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Description

Audio


Duration

5 min.

Instrumentation

Flute, Bb clarinet, violin, cello

Program Notes

While visiting my family’s home in the summer of 2014 I found a copy of the Oxford Book of Sea Songs.

I’d been listening to a good bit of Charles Ives recently so decided to pick a few of the songs to set against one another, essentially to see how they would sound. The songs I selected were John Dory, A Joyful New Ballad, and The Seamen and Soldiers’ Last Farewell to Their Dear Jewels. After a few bars (and a few tonal adjustments) I knew I was on to something.

During that summer I also visited Emerald Bay, on Catalina Island, where I spent every summer growing up. It was the first time I’d been back in three or four years.

Hanging out on the dock or on a moored boat late at night at the end of summer, whether with friends or alone, is one of my favorite places to be. It’s hard to put it into words, but it gives me a combined feeling of cool peacefulness and the warmth of being home. It’s also one of the rare places that I’m able to get out of my own head and just exist and be present in the moment.

I remembered how this felt by getting back there and experiencing it again, and tried to capture it in the colors of this piece.

Description

Audio


Duration

5 min.

Instrumentation

Flute, Bb clarinet, violin, cello

Program Notes

While visiting my family’s home in the summer of 2014 I found a copy of the Oxford Book of Sea Songs.

I’d been listening to a good bit of Charles Ives recently so decided to pick a few of the songs to set against one another, essentially to see how they would sound. The songs I selected were John Dory, A Joyful New Ballad, and The Seamen and Soldiers’ Last Farewell to Their Dear Jewels. After a few bars (and a few tonal adjustments) I knew I was on to something.

During that summer I also visited Emerald Bay, on Catalina Island, where I spent every summer growing up. It was the first time I’d been back in three or four years.

Hanging out on the dock or on a moored boat late at night at the end of summer, whether with friends or alone, is one of my favorite places to be. It’s hard to put it into words, but it gives me a combined feeling of cool peacefulness and the warmth of being home. It’s also one of the rare places that I’m able to get out of my own head and just exist and be present in the moment.

I remembered how this felt by getting back there and experiencing it again, and tried to capture it in the colors of this piece.

Nick Norton

Nick Norton is—like you—made from materials forged in the cores of stars. He was born in Los Angeles approximately 13.6 billion years after the universe and at least a few hundred thousand after vertebrates developed a system to interpret vibrating air as sound, and has been making music ever since. The LA Times describes his work as crazy, and NewMusicBox referred to his pieces as “visceral sonic haiku.” Lately he’s been into slowly-evolving music with electronics and effects pedals, and semi-jokingly calls his work “spectral post minimalist.” God. At an early age Nick discovered that he got a life-affirming kick out of certain arrangements of sound, so started making some by playing guitar and saxophone in bands. He studied composition in college and grad school, and in a whole bunch of garages, studios, apartments, backyards, beaches, mountains, bars, libraries, clubs, restaurants, lakes, forests, glaciers, and deserts. He now works with sound (including music!) directly in his work in film and television post production. As a composer, Nick has worked with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Kansas City Chorale, the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, Wild Up, HOCKET, the Isaura, Formalist, Friction, and Argus string quartets, ensemble mise-en, Third Coast Percussion, EXAUDI, Aperture Duo, Ignition Duo, gnarwhallaby, Wild Rumpus, What’s Next? Ensemble, conductors Christopher Rountree and Brandon Rolle, guitarists Giacomo Baldelli and Fabricio Mattos, violists Diana Wade and Jonathan Morgan, cellists Ashley Walters and Jennifer Bewerse, bassist Miller Wrenn, soprano Justine Aronson, and pianists Jeremy Denk, Vicki Ray, Mark Robson, Richard Valitutto, Aron Kallay, and Cristina Valdes. As a solo artist, Nick plays ambient guitar with electronics, sometimes under the name Calm Machine. He quite likes working with artists in other media and has collaborated on new works with video artist Kelly McGillicuddy, dance academy Joffrey Texas, and choreographer Katie Cooper. In addition to countless shows at Art Share LA, Nick's music has been heard on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, National Sawdust, and Home Audio, at San Francisco’s Center for New Music and Hot Air Music Festival, in Seattle at the Good Shepherd Chapel, and in Los Angeles at the Hear Now Festival, Boston Court, and the Blue Whale (RIP). Whoa, nested Oxford commas. He’s received commissions from the International Horn Society, PianoSpheres, HOCKET, Synchromy, WomenSing, and Worldwide Guitar Connections. Nick’s been really lucky, because he’s had great teachers along the way, including Clarence Barlow, Curtis Roads, Joel Feigin, Andrew Tholl, Lei Liang, Rand Steiger, Chinary Ung, Robert Keeley, Harvey Sollberger, and Michel Merlet. He has also participated in masterclasses with Sofia Gubaidulina, George Benjamin, and Martin Bresnick. As an armchair political philosopher Nick rejects the distinction between high and low forms of art. He is invested in creating new experiences for listeners from all backgrounds and destroying social barriers to enjoying music. He pursues his mission through his work running Equal Sound and New Classic LA and with his bands The Newports and Honest Iago. A student of Zen Buddhism, he enjoys punk rock, cinema, craft beer, sci fi, and being in or near the ocean.


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