Some inspiration for Morning after the Deluge, a 13-minute piece for clarinet, piano and string quartet (adapted from an earlier work for violin sextet), comes from William Turner’s similarly-named painting from 1843, Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) – the Morning after the Deluge – Moses Writing the Book of Genesis. The painting depicts dawn emerging from the ruin of the great flood when God’s covenant with man was established. As a composer, I find it fascinating, as it is both visually expressive and suggestive of musical ideas. The shifting landscape dissolving into layers of mist against a rising sun inspired me to design the same for the music, which begins with a single melody shifted through different modes and slowly dissolves into a growing counterpoint of 2-part, 3-part, then 4-part, and so on; and when all 6 members of ensemble finally come together, we begin “seeing” the first light of the dawn. A new, lively motif emerges. Bright and colorful, the music bears influence from Chinese folk dances. The opening theme also formed the last part of the piece, which is reflective of a sunset. Here, the ensemble slowly fades, one instrument at a time, into the silence of the darkness.
“Equally captivating is Chinese-born Zhou Tian’s Morning After the Deluge (2014), a powerful response to William Turner’s Romantic, proto-Impressionistic painting Light and Colour (Goethe's Theory) – The Morning after the Deluge – Moses Writing the Book of Genesis. Zhou Tian acknowledges inspiration from Chinese folk dance, but the warm, melodic score—never saccharine—is often reminiscent of mid-20th-century American populist music, as well. Delightful.”
—Ronald E. Grames (Fanfare)
Other scorings available for this work:
violin, piano and string quartet