Found Objects: On the Beach (2013)  |  Jenni Brandon (b. 1977)

Found Objects: On the Beach was written for and dedicated to the PEN Trio by composer Jenni Brandon.  It was premiered at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music on Monday September 30, 2013 and has subsequently been published in the PEN Trio Collection and is available through TrevCo-Varner Music.

Program Notes from composer Jenni Brandon:

I have always loved the idea of finding objects in nature and knowing that they have a story to tell.  It was while taking walks on the beach during the winter of 2013 in Long Beach, California when I spotted the black feather on the sand and wondered what its story was.  Where was the bird it came from?  Where had the bird travelled and how had that feather helped in this flight?  As I began to see more objects on the beach – stones, shells, driftwood, even sea glass during those winter afternoons on the beach – I thought about their stories and how I might tell them.  

In “Tumbled Stones,” the ocean tosses and tumbles the stones in the waves, creating smooth stones, angular stones, and patterned stones through years of being in the ocean and on the sandy ocean floor.  The Sea Glass solo movements tell of the beautiful colors of tumbled pieces of glass, tossed much like the stones by the sea.  Once part of a jar or a bottle, these pieces of glass now reflect the smoothness that comes from years of the ocean’s effects.  

Also on the beach that winter was a gnarled, twisted, dark brown piece of driftwood.  I imagined this piece of wood, drifting sadly on a lonely, cold sea.  In “Driftwood” the movement ebbs and flows with the tide, the wood coming to rest on the sand near a black feather, which remembers its joyful, soaring flight.  

In the final movement “Seashells,” a joyful waltz tells the story of these beautiful, varied shells; colorful and scattered across the beach as far as the eye can see.  These many shells form the backdrop on the sand, as the other “found objects” come to rest on the beach from the sea.

It is an honor to have The PEN Trio premiere this work and to bring to life the stories of these found objects on the beach.  

jenni brandon
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