Friday, April 19, 2013

CCC 068 - Jocelyn Morlock

This installment of the Consonant Classical Challenge features Canadian composer Jocelyn Morlock. Although not as well-known in this country, Morlock is an established and well-respected composer in her native country. According to one source, she's quickly becoming one of the most commissioned composers in Canada.

Morlock is concerned about expressing emotion, and does so effectively by using tonal material in a unique and unconventional fashion. Much of her work uses modal scales and harmonic motion -- something very much part of the current musical vernacular.So while there's a core to her music that's readily understandable, its used as a starting point to take the listener into new sonic worlds.

Her "Prelude and Fugue" follows the well-established form, but the form doesn't hem in the music. Listen especially to the expressiveness and freedom of the prelude. The fugue is a model of counterpoint, without sounding stilted or academic. It, like the prelude, simply flows.

Aeromancy is double cello concerto. Morlock writes, "Aeromancy is divination by observing atmospheric conditions. My concerto, Aeromancy, has at its foundation an oscillation of mood from bright to ominous and back, seeking equilibrium but never quite finding it, always questioning." The openness of the sound might remind one of Copland, but not the orchestration. Morlock uses the resources of a chamber orchestra to achieve the effect of oscillation, and subtle shifts of moods.

[Hear an excerpt on SoundCloud]

Morlock calls herself an "admirer of weird birds." Her work "t" uses the orchestra to create an atmosphere in which birds can be heard chirping and flying about. It's an evocative and effective work. Morlock incorporates bird calls into her score, and like Messiaen, uses them as motivic material.

[Hear an excerpt on SoundCloud]
Oiseaux bleus et sauvages (2003) -excerpt

Even based on even the small sampling of her music presented here, it's easy to hear why Jocelyn Morlock is attracting attention. Her music is accessible without being derivative. Although Not a lot of Morlock's music is available on recordings, which is a shame. The two selections below are compilation albums of Canadian composers, and each feature one work by Morlock. You can hear a good selection of her catalog at her Soundcloud page

Recommended Recordings

Musica Intima 20 by Musica Intima (August 28, 2012)

Centrediscs - 30 Years, A Canadian Music sampler 


  1. Thanks for including me on your blog! I hope to have two albums out in the next year (yes, I am optimistic); meanwhile I have music on several recent CDs...

    The second one, "Three Meditations on Light" for cello and harp, on Ravello Records, might be of particular interest to your readers. Short excerpts of all three movements are found on the link below, first five minutes or so of the soundfile. - Standing Wave Ensemble - Couloir Duo (Heidi Krutzen, harp; Ariel Barnes, cello) Ari is the cellist on the Musica Intima CD too.

    Bye for now,

  2. Jocelyn: Thanks so much for commenting! I'll do another post soon to showcase your release information. I'm happy to support your efforts.