Toward the Sea III (1989) by Toru Takemitsu
for alto flute and harp

  • I. The Night
  • II. Moby-Dick
  • III. Cape Cod

Toward the Sea was commissioned by Greenpeace for the Save the Whales campaign. It exists in three separate versions, each lasting around 11 minutes:

The work is divided into three sections: The Night, Moby-Dick, and Cape Cod. The section titles reference Melville's novel Moby-Dick. The composer wished to emphasize the spiritual dimension of the book, quoting the passage, "meditation and water are wedded together". He also said, "The music is a homage to the sea which creates all things and a sketch for the sea of tonality".

Toward the Sea was written at a time when Takemitsu was increasingly returning to tonality after a period of experimental composition. Most of the work is written in free time, with no bar lines (except in the second version, to facilitate conducting). In each version, the flute has the primary melodic line, based in part on a motif spelling "sea" in German musical notation (Eb–E–A). This S-E-A motif appears in the work in various forms and reappears in several of Takemitsu's later works.

— Wikipedia    

[from program for March 20, 2017 concert]