Music Inspired by Water Part 1

This weekend I’m spending a few days at the coast, so I thought I’d create a playlist of music inspired by the ocean. And because there are many many pieces that were inspired by and evoke images of water, expect future installments of this post. 🙂 [Click here for part two.]

First up:  “Die Hebriden” (The Hebrides) by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847).

This concert overture, also known as Fingal’s Cave, was inspired by Mendelssohn’s visit to the cave. Composed in 1830, The Hebrides is a work meant to describe the beauty of the cave using musical imagery.

Next is Debussy‘s La Mer (“The Sea”).

Written in 1903-05, the daring harmonies and orchestration have influenced composers since the premier. There are three movements to this work:  “De l’aube à midi sur la mer” (From Dawn to Midday on the Sea), “Jeux de vagues” (Play of the Waves), and “Dialogue du vent et de la mer” (Dialogue of the wind and the sea).

The Oceanides by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) is a beautiful work that references the nymphs in Greek mythology.

The two main themes in this piece represent the playful nymphs and the majestic ocean. Composed in 1913-14, there are some similarities with La Mer.

John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean is a personal favorite of mine. Click here to read my post on this work.

The last piece for today is The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship by Rinsky-Korsakov.

This work is the first section of a 40-minute long work called Scheherazade, and it depicts stories from The Arabian Nights (this first one being about the sailor Sinbad). Read here for more.

What pieces inspired by water do you like listening to?

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