Water Music. The New Yorker, July 8, 2013.
Bonus track: Ensemble Caprice's Bach and Shostakovich.
Above is my rough chart of Become Ocean's structure of crescendos, with wind, brass, and string groups swelling at different rates. (Click to enlarge.) The three climaxes of the work happen when the crescendos of the groups coincide, in the passages leading up to Bars 106, 316, and 526. There are corresponding triple-p moments of repose, at Bars 211 and 421. The chart shows only the first half of the piece; because the entire score is a palindrome, the second half follows the same structure in reverse. There is much more to be said about the intricate construction and numerological obsessions of Become Ocean. Almost every feature of it seems to have something to do with the number seven and its multiples: it doesn't seem a coincidence that the piano sets the music in motion with a rapid-moving seven-note figure, that the work lasts forty-two minutes, and even that there are forty-two staves in the score. All that said, the piece in no way sounds complexly structured. Its atmosphere is contemplative, meditative. Nothing quite like it has ever been done, and that is why I chose to begin my review with a comparison to The Rite of Spring. The Seattle Symphony will play Become Ocean at Carnegie Hall on May 6, 2014, as part of the final edition of Spring for Music.