Composed for the 2013 International Fleet Review, A Maritime Symphony is a large-scale work for wind orchestra dedicated to each of the nations that took part in this historic naval event.
Consisting of four movements that represent different geographic regions, the symphony takes the listener on a musical journey across the globe visiting the many diverse cultural styles of music along the way. Folk tunes, patriotic songs and traditional music belonging to each of the participating countries are what form the creation of A Maritime Symphony.
I: “Introduction: Fleet Review”
This short movement serves as an introduction that heralds the many diverse and contrasting themes heard in the ensuing movements. Opening with the host nation’s very own Waltzing Matilda, the movement soon develops into a mélange of patriotic tunes. A variation of this movement is also heard at the very end of the work in movement IV, when it is used within what is known as the “coda” section of a symphony.
II: “Sailors of the Tropics”
As the title suggests, the countries featuring in this movement have navies that predominantly sail the seas of the tropical region surrounding the equator. The large diversity of musical styles found within this region, and the challenge of reproducing some of the unique sounds from this area with a wind orchestra, makes this an interesting movement.
III: “Mare Pacificum"
The Pacific Ocean derives its title from the Latin name Mare Pacificum, meaning “peaceful sea”. There are many nations that share borders on this huge expanse of water, and this movement features a selection of these. Again, the variety of contrasting musical styles bring a great deal of interest, and the movement both opens and closes with several unusual and ethereal effects that emulate snoring to represent not only the peacefulness of the Pacific Ocean but also Australia’s Aboriginal Dreamtime. The latter is reinforced with the use of a didgeridoo. In addition, this movement also features several instruments less commonly used within the wind orchestra such as the alto flute, cor anglais and contrabassoon.
IV: "Sea of Atlas"
Covering approximately twenty percent of the Earth’s surface, the Atlantic Ocean is sometimes referred to as the “Sea of Atlas”, named after the mighty Titan “Atlas” of Greek mythology. This powerful fourth and final movement of the Maritime Symphony is a display of might, and also includes an array of patriotic music belonging to the countries of the Atlantic region. Participating nations from the Americas, Europe, Africa and member nations of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) all play an important role in the structure of this movement.