Tide Pools for choir (SATB), piano, speaker and some small percussion—dedicated to Brigitte (who shares my passion for Tide Pools).

Tide Pools was suggested by Willi Gohl, a piece with a New Zealand flavour, which would show various choral techniques:

  • madrigal style (1. Sea Squirts),
  • spoken chorus (2. Starfish),
  • improvisation (3. Octopus).
  • To this I have added a dramatic movement (4. Mussels) in which pitch is free but rhythm is very important
  • and a burlesque (5. Gastropods) which makes fun of a well known New Zealand tune “Now is the Hour”.

The work shows a certain amount of nostalgia on my (and Brigitte’s) part for the New Zealand foreshore and the animals which live there. The text-fragments were taken from R. K. Dell’s book, Seashore Life, (Reed, 1981) and from Margaret Orbell’s The Natural World of the Maori, page 28, (Bateman 1985) - 4. Mussels. Although Willi GohI, the conductor, suggested a choral work, he is also Willi GohI the pianist. Therefore the piano plays an important rôle in these pieces. He also proposed some small percussion. I imagine the percussion part being played by a member (or members) of the chorus. Instruments required are: claves (1. Sea Squirts), a maraca (2. Starfish), a small gong. (3. Octopus), a tambourine (4. Mussels) and the same four instruments again in 5. Gastropods. The Speaker also plays a very important part in Tide Pools. I see him/her as a soloist standing in front of the choir and playing the rôle of a rather serious teacher, who doesn’t seem to notice the occasional funny side of what he/she is saying.

The above lines were written more than 20 years ago. Willi Gohl (1925-2010), famous in Switzerland as a choral conductor and music educator, has in the meantime died. Whether he actually toured New Zealand as he had planned I never heard, nor whether he performed Tide Pools there or elsewhere. Now I have made a complete revision of the work removing the improvisatory passages (especially from 3. Octopus) and in general making it more accessable to general choirs.

Performing the spoken part of Tide Pools at a concert for my 80th birthday in the old Zurich Conservatory by the Vokalensemble Zürich, conductor Peter Siegwart, pianist Paul Seits

Tide Pools