Oram, Celeste

the naming of waters (2018) – c. 10′

Composer Notes

the naming of waters is a genre-busting newly commissioned work more akin to performance art than chamber music. Using props and prompts by both musicians and audience, Celeste sets the tone with the following words:


SCENE: A burial. North Sea.

Three colours of a flag clattering.

Boat heaving and pitching. Ashes fly in

faces and cling to clothes. Flowers tossed

overboard and bruised by churning.

Trio of hired musicians on deck. Despite

best solemnities, losing battle with wind to

keep bows on strings or fingers on keys. All

things wooden prone to creaking in sympathy

with the hull. Voices are swallowed.

Indelicate seagulls.

Engine cuts. Flag droops. Bells toll for the

dead. Boat turns and follows its wake home.

The ghost boat continues course toward open

sea. Music drifts, grows fainter, until it

can no longer be heard on the wind from



Composed in residence at Civitella Ranieri, Umbertide with support from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Commissioned by NZTrio.

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