I Am Wind on Sea (1987)
for Solo Female Voice and Percussion

Programme Note: John Buckley

I Am Wind on Sea was written in 1897 for Aylish Kerrigan and first performed by her in Madrid in October of that year. The percussion instruments (crotales and woodblocks) must be played by the singer and are intended as an extension of her voice.

The text is a translation made by the composer from ancient Irish sources. In the setting I have attempted to capture something of the elemental, ritualistic and strikingly dramatic quality of the text.

Throughout the piece, extensive use is made of contemporary vocal techniques such as tongue clicks, flutter tonguing, passages of approximate pitch and so forth, as a means of colouring and heightening the expressive range of the vocal line.

I am wind on sea,
I am the mighty wave,
I am sound of ocean,
I am stag of seven fights,
I am hawk on cliff,
I am the sun's beam,
I am boar ready for combat,
I am salmon in pool,
I am lake on plain,
I am word of poetry,
I am point of spear
Pouring forth combat,
I am the giver of inspiration.
Who can make smooth the rock mountain?
I am wind on sea,
Who can tell the seasons of the moon?
I am wind on sea,
Who can tell where the sun sets?
I am wind on sea.