Atlantic Odyssey

Atlantic Odyssey was commissioned by the band programme at Oakton High School, Vienna, Virginia, on the initiative of the programme’s director, Dr. Cheryl Newton. The first performance took place on 12th June 2010

The piece is in two extended movements and seeks to portray an imaginary yacht journey off the eastern seaboard of the USA. The first movement, Sunrise at Sea and The Ocean Awakes, opens with an atmospheric depiction of dawn at sea. Floating woodwinds soar above surging brass until a climax heralds the rising sun. Daylight reveals distant horizons and the prospect of a calm voyage, but the sea is never tamed and a light breeze whips up spray around the boat until a couple of high waves rock the boat alarmingly. But the sea soon calms again and the journey continues serenely.

The second movement, Homeward Bound and Spindrift, sees us turn for home, the boat scything calmly through the gentle waves in perfect sailing conditions. But once again conditions change, a stiff breeze tugs at the sails and for a moment we are once again at the mercy of the wind and waves. A moment of calm returns but we are suddenly sprayed by spindrift as a gale picks up. The boat is in danger of overturning but we manage to trim the sail and take advantage of the strong winds to enjoy and exhilarating journey home.