• John Harbison
  • Bermuda Triangle (1970)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)
  • tsx, electronic organ,amp vc
  • 8 min

Programme Note

Composer note:

Bermuda Triangle was named for an area in the Atlantic Ocean famous for strange disappearances and unpredictable weather conditions. The humpback whales swim and sing in this region; their highly structured, seemingly improvised songs are at the root of this piece; an allusion to their sound occurs in a unison passage midway through. The amplified cello and tenor sax originate in different worlds; they meet in the environment created by the electric organ, and are influenced by each other, while retaining contrapuntal independence.

The piece is the final part of December Music, a group of three pieces based on the same ancient cantus-firmus. The final organ statement is a distorted version of this melody, which also forms the basis for the sax and cello lines. Bermuda Triangle was commissioned and first performed by the New York Camerata. It has been recorded, on the CRI label, by Albert Regni, Helen Harbison, and Robert Levin.

--John Harbison