Listening Notes:

In 1990 I was commissioned to compose four hours of electronic/synthesizer music to serve as ambient background music in the newly constructed Aquarium of the Americas, located on Poydras Street, at the foot of the Mississippi River, in picturesque New Orleans.

I composed Rippling Waters for placement near the ‘Caribbean Reef’ tanks in the Aquarium. Like most of my music written for this environment, the piece is in A-B-A form, and features the colors of synthesized harps, winds and brass within a flowing rhythmic movement. The music is Mendelssohnian in character, as most of my tranquil pieces for the Aquarium are, offering a peaceful auditory component to the sensual visual experiences in this wondrous facility. Mendelssohn’s quasi-programmatic “Songs Without Words”, in fact, were the inspiration for much of my music for the Aquarium.

The music was sequenced and ‘performed’ continuously, day and night, via a MIDI connection to a bank of synthesizers in a four-hour, non-repetitious loop, projected over 110 loudspeakers throughout the Aquarium – one hour of music for each of the four main Aquarium locations. All this, amazingly, on an early Apple Macintosh SE computer with a 20 megabyte hard drive and 4 megabytes of RAM, running continuously for several years. 

Listening Room

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