The Love of the Sea

(2 customer reviews)


The roll of waves and tangy salt sea air are a strong force and influence on those who grow up / live near the ocean. The ever-changing interaction with the elements creates many moods and colours. Above all, the ocean is a masterful and unchanging force that calls us back if we stray too far from her.

The Love of the Sea is a fine example of Donna Rhodenizer’s ability to craft elegant poetry supported with rich and melodic harmonies. This art song is a favourite of the choirs and soloists who sing it. An optional violin/flute descant adds an additional harmonic layer to the celtic feel of the song.

The Love of the Sea is available for vocal solo/unison choir, and for multiple voices in SSA and SATB choir arrangements (TTBB pending).

Download includes:

  • Vocal score
  • Director/piano score
  • Lyrics
  • Accompaniment – piano
  • Donna & Andy – performance track

The Love of the Sea

SATB - Key Of E♭

Context             Choir: high school, adult/community

Level                 High school, adult

Audio Sample   See video below

SSA - Key Of E♭

Context             Choir: high school, adult/community

Level                 High school, adult

Audio Sample   See video below

Unison - Key Of E♭

Context             Choir: high school, adult/community

Level                 High school, adult

Audio Sample   See video below

Unison - Key of C

Context             Choir: high school, adult/community

Level                 High school, adult

Audio Sample   See video below

Composer Notes

I am often asked which comes first, the music or the lyrics? When I write, I often sit at the piano where I am play various chord progressions or try out a melody line. Once I get the beginning idea, thinking of words and the music together, helps shape and direct the process. Sometimes a phrase or an interesting word combination strikes my fancy and I create the melody to fit that. The process is quite organic and really goes back and forth quite a lot as the writing progresses.

The Love of the Sea started out as a melodic phrase. I was in my elementary music classroom waiting for my next class to arrive. Small intervals of time between classes do not happen often and I went to the piano to play something while I waited. I picked out a melody that lasted for only two bars. I liked the interval jump, I liked the 3/4 feel and I decided it was worth writing down to mull over later. I rolled the phrase around in my mind a few times and thought, “the love of the sea” fit nicely with both the melody and the timing. Then my class arrived. I scurried to my desk to write down those five notes and the corresponding five words so that I could remember them to work on them later. (A word to the wise, you may think you will remember these bits of inspiration, but more often than not, they get lost in the rest of the day. My advice is, write it down, even if you end up throwing it out!)

When I finally had time to work on my initial inspiration, the melody and the words were sculpted and crafted back and forth as I filled out the melody and form of the song. I spent a long time wrestling with what I wanted to say about the ocean. As a Nova Scotian, the sea is a very big part of the culture, the landscape and the very air we breathe in our Maritime location. (I lived for a year in Manitoba and I desperately missed the salt air and the ocean that I felt was “in my blood” and my very soul.) The form of the song turned out to have a double verse, a chorus, another double verse and two final choruses. Strangely enough, the lyrics do not rhyme in the verses. The lilt of the 3/4 time carried the lyrics without confining them to a rhyme scheme, although I must admit, I didn’t really make a conscious decision NOT to rhyme the words. In fact, I didn’t really notice that they didn’t rhyme until well after the process was underway. In any case, The Love of the Sea eventually came to its final form and started on its journey into the world.

Someone once told me they loved how the words just fell into place, like they were meant to be that way. I have a fairly thick file of rejected lyrics to prove that the lyrics had many versions and revisions before arriving at their final form. I guess that is part of the writing process.

The Love of the Sea has been around since 1996 and it is still being sung by choirs and soloists around the world. It has been recorded multiple times, it has been sung by singers of all ages. This song has been sung in many locations and for a wide variety of reasons. My singing partner, Andy Duinker was on a plane heading to Newfoundland and struck up a conversation with the person next to him. He asked her:

 Where are you heading?   Home for my Dad’s funeral.

 What kind of music will you have at the service?   We are singing one of my Dad’s favourite songs, "The Love of the Sea".

 How does that go?   She hummed a few bars.

 That song was written by my singing partner, Donna Rhodenizer – what a small world!

We may not be able to explain inspiration, but composers talk about “receiving” a song. I remain grateful that The Love of the Sea was entrusted to me. Thankfully, I had a moment of silence in my usually busy music classroom to receive the opening notes, the time to write it down and the inclination to work at crafting the rest of the song. It has been almost thirty years since I wrote it and it is still being sung around the world. That is music to my composer’s heart!

The Love of the Sea - SATB

Performed by:

Ann Arbor Singers from the University of Michigan


Thomas Burton - Conductor

The Love of the Sea SSA

Performed by:

Northern Arts Academy Choir


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See "Description" for individual voicing details

2 reviews for The Love of the Sea

  1. Marta Zeegers

    This song and arrangement is absolutely delicious.
    I wish this song existed for my home, the Rocky Mountains.

  2. Dawn Harwood-Jones

    This is one of the favourite pieces of my adult community choir and captures the real relationship and love anyone who lives near the sea (or wishes they did) has for the sea.

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