1. Heron (6:11)

From the recording Heron (6:11)

Heron is, in effect, an aria for solo clarinet accompanied by string orchestra. I feel that the blend of the clarinet melody with the string accompaniment is one of the more effective arrangements in the suite, perhaps by virtue of its understatement. The double bass pizzicato employed at the beginning of this piece is an effect that I associate with one of my favorite composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams. The details of the composition were not guided by specific imagery as the piece developed, but in general I pictured a solitary great blue heron in the salt marsh and attempted to portray alternating periods of stillness, graceful movement, jerky steps forward through the water, and swift lunges to capture prey.