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piano and large ensemble

Commission: Société Radio-Canada (SRC)

Premiere: December 9, 1999, Triplé, Salle Pierre-Mercure — Centre Pierre-Péladeau, Montréal (Québec)

To the composer’s family: Sherry, Aidan and Brynne, as well as his father John, who died while the work was being composed.

“Inside Passage” is the name of an ocean route that runs along the Western coast of British Columbia from Vancouver to Alaska. Although a direct path on open water would be faster and would avoid many obstacles, this narrow channel gives the traveller spectacular views of the many islands dotting the coastal waters. It is a voyage likely to be taken only once, but if one finds the trip worthwhile, it can be retained and experienced again in one’s memory.

There are several aspects of this route that relate to what I have tried to do in this concerto. As a passenger’s view would gradually change as islands approach and eventually recede, so musical objects return in constantly varied forms, becoming closer and closer and finally moving smoothly into new territory. And, just as nobody takes the “Inside Passage” only to arrive at Anchorage, so the flow of musical ideas in the work is linear and continuous, without being directed towards a specific goal. As the saying goes, “the journey is the reward.”

Sean Ferguson

  • Score available at CMC, Région du Québec.
  • Recording: CD: Atma ACD 2 2282