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Above the Clouds
The Broken Sea

Duration: 25 minutes
Opus: 49
Date: 2006



The title is taken from a poem by the Welsh poet Vernon Watkins (1906-1967), one of the Kardomah Boys (along with Dylan Thomas, the artists Frederick Janes and Ceri Richards and the composer Daniel Jones) from Swansea. The piece is continuous and does not follow the narrative of the poem but uses quotations from it to head the five major sections of the work.


“The Broken Sea” is a description of a brooding sea at night-time as it moves from a cold landscape to a furious storm followed by a sorrowful calm at dawn before the power of the sea returns renewed.


1. "A cold, a moon-struck place

  ........Born of the broken sea"


2. "Waves, hooded, raging, thunder, hiding contagious guilt,

  Tossing, high on the shale, the hard and scribbled stones."


3. "Still, still the moon pulls on the waves

  which magnify their lunatic insistence..."


4. "Beside the magnificent, quiet, sinister, terrible sea

  I hear the pebbles grieve......"


5. "I hear the breath of the storm. The engulfed, Gargantuan tide

 Heaped in hills by the moles, hurls to the mountain's head..."


2+1.2+1.4+2.2+1 | 2.1.1 | | T+3

Commissioned by

Commissioned by Hilary and Timothy Reynish in memory of their son, William

First performance

St Teilo's Church, Woodville Road, Cardiff
RWCMD Symphonic Winds, conducted by Timothy Reynish

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