Clarice Assad


(2020) Aquamarine

For Piano, Violin & Horn

Duration: 12 Minutes | Commissioned by The Ocean Reef Festival


I. The Chase
II. Diatoms
III. Coral Reef

Program Notes by the composer

Aquamarine is the early 18th-century name change from the Latin’s original  “Aqua Marina,” which in English means ‘seawater.”   This piece is an homage to the seas and its endless diversity of life, some of which are still utterly alien to humans, despite our sharing of this very planet.

The work is in three movements:  I. ” The Chase,”  II. Diatoms and III. Coral Reef.  The Chase is a battle between two creatures ( small and big), both striving to survive.  The larger by feeding and the tinier by living.  It is a dynamic, accented musical drama with a hint of humor.  Diatoms, which inspired the second movement, are wondrous unicellular microalgae that play crucial ecological functions on a global scale — the earliest known fossil diatoms date from the  Jurrasic period.  The last movement, Coral Reef, is a musical depiction of life at its most dazzling display of colors, shapes, and unfoldings. It is an underwater feast for the eyes, hopefully well translated into a treat for the ears.

Aquamarine is also the name of a gemstone, defined by a faint light blue to blue and bluish-green. The gemstone’s claim for its title is related to its color and the energetic properties of water. It represents stillness, quiet, vitality, and purification, as well as regeneration and rebirth.

II. Diatoms

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This arrangement of Mov. C. Assad transcribed II “Diatoms” for the project “A World of Change,” featuring pianist Lara Downes and Rene-Britt on marimba. The vocal part substitutes the horn, and the marimba, the solo violin. The piano remained in its original form. Assad added a roli keyboard for electronic effects. For vocal effects, she uses TC Helicon.

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