Gerry Joe Weise, Musical Land Art
The manuscript is in the collection of the National Library of Australia.
Illustrated musical score: Under the Waves for Orchestra, Sinfonietta No.1, Allegretto Moderato, 2019.
"Under the Waves Sinfonietta" is a concise composition revealing a tendency towards intense expressionism. The cultural milieu in which Weise composed his sinfonietta was complex and fertile. A cauldron of ideas and explorations in the arts, for which Weise is also a notable Land artist. The search for the underlying truth of nature, led Weise to peer into the depths of his own emotions, like the depths of the sea, and reflect with sincerity what was found bellow. The culmination was "Under the Waves Sinfonietta", an underwater soundscape. The music unfolds over five movements, known as ACT 1 through to ACT 5.
At first it is incisive, typified by sparse textures with articulated clear notes. Then secondly it transforms and becomes selective, that lends to arranging the register of melodic color. Progressing onwards the sinfonetta manipulates pitch, rhythm and dynamics. We can hear Weise is pushing the traditional tonal boundaries to their limits while still staying within. This is a very personal and meaningful piece for the composer.
The sinfonietta was based on a "vers libre" written by Weise, as an open form of poetry which follows the rhythm of natural speech, but in silence.The silent text underlines and describes what is happening on each page of the music score, likened to a theatre piece.
. . . at sea a boat glides across the waves,
beneath the waves the sea creatures stir from their deep sleep,
some come out from under their shells, others are hiding among the sea tangle,
another watercraft sailed overhead . . .
announcing the sea mammals are imminent,
whales dance the bassadanza among the waves,
while sea cows and sea bulls dance the tarantella,
the dolphins leap and flipper through the swell,
suddenly the pod scatter beneath to the deep blue,
the whales parody the boat . . .
the sea creatures at the bottom of the ocean depths are orchestrating, the marine mammals have taken to business arranging the deep,
and a whale agrees . . .
above the crests the seabirds are in flight,
shorebirds dive down plenty among the finny prey,
the oceans are undulating and swaying away,
they dance the Volta in a flowing manner.
yet there be a storm brewing withal . . .
when the wind ruffles, the weather becomes squally,
only shall an ocean sigh, when the wind soughs,
sky clouds turn silver that mirror the darkening sea,
one can smell the sweet aroma of fresh ozone zing,
as the rain sings gently to the sea, like waterfalls of mermaid hair.
and then the storm begins . . .
the sea creatures prepare,
the sea mammals gather and dive,
they head for the deeper less turbulent waters,
fleeting fleeing fish flush by,
and ocean-dwelling flyers seek shelter in the eye,
a concerto for a symphony of swimmers,
each wave is a rolling step towards the future,
Earth, Sun, Moon, rolling in a sea of space,
sea life rolling around amongst the tides.
the storm breaks out . . .
tempest, cloudburst, with all the fury,
the world is resounding with rolling waves,
the oceans rotate with thunderclouds,
bellowing the deep channels of indigo,
echoing among the hollow gullies of cavernous oceans,
sea life swaying majestically among the underflow,
massive swarming herds of underwater mariners,
seeking shelter, swimming against the undertow,
while fragments of the sea, splash crimson,
all making way for the calm once again . . .