Chip Hamann invited me to create a new piece for oboe and piano for a recital and recording project featuring a number of Canadian composers. The theme for the project was nature in Canada — things to do with our climate or landscapes. As my subject-matter, I chose glaciers, specifically, how we are losing our glacial ice and permafrost due to climate-change.
For my piece, I chose three terms from the field of glaciology and tried to create music that responds to them. The title, Glacial Ablations, refers to the loss of ice and snow in a glacial system. The first movement, Crystalline Elements, is slow, and features not only delicate structures in the piano, but also space and drama, in which translucence and opaqueness mingle with the human response.
The second movement, Ice-Sizzle, is very fast, powerful, and urgent. The term refers to the sound glaciers can make which is like carbonated water. The final movement, Runoff, has to do with evaporation and deterioration of the glacier. It begins with cadenza-like moments in the oboe and piano, and features upward moving lines. The runoff intensifies as the forces of moving water grow in ferocity and urgency.