The First Sea is an attempt to express the feelings associated with discoveries, with the expansion of consciousness. The Pablo Neruda poem from which the title is taken speaks of moving from a time when:
“mine alone were those solitary places,
mine alone that elemental pathway,
mine alone the universe.”
to the moment at which:
“The prison of the forests
opened a green door,
letting in the wave in all its thunder,
and, with the shock of the sea,
my life widened out into space.”
Excerpts from The First Sea are from Memorial de Isla Negra by Pablo Neruda, copyright 1964 by Editorial Losada, S.A., Buenos Aires; translations copyright 1970, 1979, 1981 by Alastair Reid.
The work was commissioned by Bass Clarinetist Lori Freedman, who gave the premier performance at the Music Gallery in Toronto on February 25, 1989. The commission was made possible with financial assistance from the Manitoba Arts Council.
The tape part was realized at the University of Manitoba Computer Music Studio, using a Kurzweil K250 sampling keyboard, and the Yamaha DX7IIFD, TX802 and TX816 synthesizers; sequencing was done on Performer.