At the Atoll
2018, Middle School, Music
Music has the power to convey ideas in a way that neither pictures nor words could similarly express. My entry, ‘At the Atoll’, is a kind of mini-symphony, with three small ‘movements’ written for the full symphony orchestra that tells a story. In the first movement of my piece, the listener is slowly immersed in the coastal habitat and discovers the beauty and grandeur of the coral reef. The slight transitions from major to minor chords represents gentle breakers lapping on the shore. The second movement introduces all the different characters living in the reef as they assemble for a dance. The more melancholy feel of the third movement is due to the tragic abundance of coral bleaching in reefs all around the world. Here, the piece transitions as if all of the inhabitants of the reef were pleading to us humans to fix the damage we have caused to their home after showing us the importance and the wonder of the coral reef. The more dramatic lines to the familiar melody resemble desolation and sadness. My inspirations for At the Atoll were “Venus, Bringer of Peace” by Gustav Holst for the first and third movements, and “Barcarolle” by James Offenbach and “Jazz Suite, Waltz no. 2” by Shostakovich for the dance in the second movement. I had never completed a piece for full orchestra before this, and actually assembling all of the musicians and conducting them was a dream come true for me.