Composer: Tadd Russo
Piece: Reading a Wave (2000)


“Reading a Wave” is the title of an essay by Cuban-Italian author Italo Calvino which is part of a larger work entitled Mr. Palomar (after the Palomar Telescope). Like a telescope, Mr. Palomar--the main character in the book--has a unique way of perceiving seemingly common things. In Reading a Wave, Mr. Palomar consumes himself with the task of perceiving all of the different elements of a single wave at once. In my piece, I have not tried to evoke the sound of water as in Debussy's La Mer, but instead have tried to evoke the process of perceiving water as it approaches. As with the wave that Palomar observes in Calvino's story, the texture of this piece constantly pulls between instruments and obscurity until, at last, a frustrated Mr. Palomar walks off along the shore.

Play Reading a Wave