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Oliver Davis

Infinite Ocean (2017)
Chester Music Ltd
Year Composed
25 Minutes
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Programme Note
Oliver Davis Infinite Ocean (2017)
The infinite ocean was composed for choreographer Edwaard Liang and was commissioned by San Francisco Ballet for the Unbound festival, 2018. Liang requested the work to be in six sections and to feature a solo violin. The opening section was to be an ensemble piece. After a graceful introduction, the solo violin enters playing a very fast arpeggiated figure which, despite its virtuosic feel, is actually accompanying the first violins’ melody. Only after this section does the solo violin take centre stage. The second section is a Pas de Deux, for which I wanted to create a very serene movement following the intensity of the opening. The third section was to feature male solos, hence the use of brass and percussion. Following this is a duet, where I used woodwind and pizzicato strings to create a lighter feel. The fourth section pushes forward rhythmically and is an ensemble piece for the dancers. In the fifth section Liang wished to have a second Pas de Deux but this time the duet would be more sombre and reflective in mood. The ballet finishes with a full cast ensemble piece which I wrote using a rhythmic ostinato figure ending in a climactic crescendo. Edwaard Liang’s vision is inspiring and I found the project very exciting.

  • Ensemble
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Benjamin Baker, violin; Huw Watkins, piano; Kerenza Peacock, violin;
    Paul Bateman
    Signum Classics:
  • 20 FEB 2020
    War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, CA
    San Francisco Ballet
    Natalia Feygina; Martin West, conductor

    Other Dates:
    13,12,11,14-16,18,19,21-23 February - War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, CA
  • 21 FEB 2020
    Dance Innovations
    War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, USA
    San Francisco Ballet
    Edwaard Liang, choreographer

    Other Dates:
    13,15,18,19,23 February - War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, USA

Completing the triple bill is Edwaard Liang’s The Infinite Ocean, which has a forceful and exciting score by Oliver Davis (played live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia) and a fantastic set that references Olafur Eliasson’s groundbreaking 2003 Tate Modern installation The Weather Project. Evoking the place between life and death, Liang’s lyrical choreography is suffused with a sense of longing and intimations of farewell. It’s memorable for a pair of duets performed by two outstanding couples — Sofiane Sylve and Tiit Helimets, Yuan Yuan Tan and Vitor Luiz — who savour the intimacy of Liang’s writing and raise it above the level of the merely generic.
Debra Craine, The Times,03/06/2019
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