Ocean Depths Symphony


Performances: The Cleveland Play House May 11th & 12th 2007 by Verb Ballets
Instrumentation:  Full score (3333-4331-strings) or solo piano

Movement I

Sorcery At Dawn  – In the predawn moonlight, an evil carrier bird swoops down over a large three mast sail boat. The winged beast, saddled with the knowledge of what is to transpire, casts magical dust over the scene and thus secures the story’s destiny. The good sage Mondarbar, having sensed the evil presence, is concealed on the boat deck and witnesses the event. The boat’s occupants are escaping from the perils of their home, Mercendile, to the good kingdom of Bestaro. They begin the morning unaware of the evil bird’s deed. All except the sage that is.

Morning Decks – The sun has risen and the boat’s passengers are scurrying about, merrily performing their morning chores and activities. Their princess, Labartisha, is on the deck cheerfully helping them with the morning work.

Ocean Motion – Completing their chores, the group breaks out into a celebration of the day with much merrymaking and dancing. Mondarbar, however, does not take part and warily watches from the side. During the festivity, three items are inconspicuously cast into the ocean. Each of these items, a rope-ring, lantern, and boat oar, floats for a moment before sinking into the ocean depths. This goes unnoticed by all, except the Sage Mondarbar.

The Fall  – As if to counteract the blissfulness of the morning, the sky suddenly darkens and the ocean becomes rough. Unaware of any unusual force, the party continues the festivities. With the excitement of the sudden storm, no one would later be sure how it happened, but some would speculate that Princes Labartisha must have been too close to the boat’s edge. As suddenly as the storm has arisen, the princess falls into the ocean and disappears.

Sea Bottom  – Down on the ocean bottom, princess Labartisha lands on a dimly lit plateau. Scattered about her are a magic ring, lantern and sword, transformed from the ordinary objects cast earlier from the boat. Her unexpected presence startles the environment and many brightly colored fish and other less colorful and eerie ocean dwellers cautiously approach her. As their initial fears subside, she is befriended by the ocean inhabitants.

The Encounter – On a routine scouting mission, prince Shureel feels an alteration of the waters. As he approaches the plateau, the beauty of the princess and the force of the magical items overpower him. Cautiously, he approaches. As his eyes meet those of the princess, they both realize they were destined to meet. With their aquatic friends around them, they dance.

Movement II

Reverberations – The sound of a distant fanfare pierces the water. A scouting troop from the evil king Sookar’s kingdom approaches. Suddenly the surrounding fish dart and disappear. Alone, Shureel and Labartisha take the magic ring and sword and hide. The magic lantern grows dimmer as trouble approaches.

Battle, Oh So Deep  – The prince and princess aren’t really abandoned, as many fish, colors glaring, rush into battle to protect the duo. At the height of the battle, prince Shureel takes the magic sword and duels with the evil chieftain Dakar, leader of the attacking troop. At the climatic turning point of the match, Dakar knocks the sword from Shureel’s grasp. As if a magical spell is cast with the release of the sword, sea life from waters far and near swim to aid Shureel and the evil party finally retreats.

With the battle over, Princes Labartisha, Prince Shureel and their aquatic friends embark on a journey to King Nasad’s underwater castle. The magic sword is no where to be found.

Murmured March  – Darkness has fallen as the march begins to King Nasad’s underwater castle. The power of the magical lantern seems to be enhanced by the surrounding murkiness as it comfortably blazes the trail out of the gloomy shadows. Finally, the light of the castle breaks the darkness.

The Virtual Castle – Reaching the castle, the prince and princess’s party is greeted by King Nasad and his court. The castle occupants herald the newcomers and there is much celebrating and dancing. As all good things must eventually end, so does the festivity. The castle and it’s occupants begin to waver and fade. The castle walls disappear. Princess Labartisha finds herself back on the boat deck with the lamp and rope-ring nearby and the sage Mondarbar at her side. Someone else whom she doesn’t recognize, a boat hand perhaps, is also present. She is cold and wet, but she is alive.

Solo piano rendition by pianist Michael Schneider