And The Waves Sing Because They Are Moving

solo piano
(2004) 12′



included on Across Oceans by Aperio: Music of the AmericasPurchase

And the Waves Sing Because They are Moving

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Jason Hardink, piano

Many of my works attempt to portray an image, and many of those images are taken from the elements: fire, ice, stone, steel, et cetera. This work is no different. The title of the work is taken from two lines by Philip Larkin:

And the waves sing because they are moving,
And the waves sing above a cemetery of waters. 

The piece begins as a tocatta for a strange-sounding piano (thanks to a towel placed over the strings). This is interrupted by a frozen chorale of high chords. The middle section of the piece is played a la chitarra (“like a guitar”). Following this, the pace picks up and swells out of control (the climactic repeated chord is marked “massive – beyond ffff”) before receding into a song of the waves.

And The Waves Sing Because They are Moving was commissioned by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and pianist Jason Hardink, who gave the premiere in 2004.

Osborne’s “Waves” is a motoric piece, restless in its barely contained energy, with music waiting to fly forth from the instrument. It’s written for a partly prepared piano (a towel is laid across part of the strings), thereby creating an imaginative tonal landscape that oscillates between prepared and normal piano sounds. Hardink exploited this wonderfully with his lively interpretation. His reading dynamically captured the work’s exuberant flight of fancy.

-Deseret Morning News, 6/16/05

After other music, pianist Jason Hardink presented Osborne’s “And the Waves Sing Because They Are Moving” — inspired by the poetry of Philip Larkin — with comparable insight. The piano solo piece also showed strong compositional drive to build a compelling experience out of his materials.

-Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/20/04

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