The same water that ebbs​.​.​.

by Leon Harrell

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"The same water that ebbs…" is a line from the poem "The Heart of the Buddha" by Hsu Yun.

"No need to chase back and forth like the waves.
The same water which ebbs is the same water that flows.
No point turning back to get water
When it's flowing around you in all directions
The heart of the Buddha and the people of the world...
Where is there any difference?"

This piece is the first piece I completed after a long creative drought. I wanted to create a piano piece that borrowed the technical agility found in Ravel’s Sonatine and also use a harmonic language that progressed beyond Impressionist harmonies yet retained the rich
quality and warmth found in the piano works of that period.

Although I found the poem after finishing the work I think it captures the process of the piece’s creation. For many weeks I worked not knowing what to do with this piece and wondering if I would ever feel the same way about composing after such a long period of not writing.
But during the process I was reminded that often when you don’t know what to do you must allow yourself to just work. Like the water in the poem our creative spirit ebbs and flows, yet it is always around us.

Special thanks goes to pianist Juri Seo for a great performance.


released October 1, 2009



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Leon Harrell Urbana, Illinois

Leon Harrell is a composer, pianist and educator who creates music that grabs your attention and refuses to let go.

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