Santiago and Islands in the Gulf Stream

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Track Listing

  1. Bimini Island, 1946 (5:59)
  2. Sea Interlude 1 (4:17)
  3. ¡Cuba! "The Old Man from Havana", Santiago, Dance 1 (8:04)
  4. Cuban Night Music, Dance 2 (5:45)
  5. Out to Sea: Battle at Sea, lost in the fog, storm, to catch the great fish, back ashore (12:17)
  6. The Woman: Adagietto for Piano and Orchestra-Love Theme (4:57)
  7. Havana Nights, Dance 3 (3:43)
  8. The Boys: Fishing with Dad down the beautiful blue gulf stream water (4:32)
  9. Sea Interlude 2 (4:20)
  10. 1959 Castro Revolution: The end of old Cuba and Thomas Hudson returns to Bimini, Santiago sails out to the infinite. (7:52)

Liner Notes


Santiago and Islands in the Gulf Stream is a musical work that links two of Ernest Hemingway's novels, Islands In The Stream and The Old Man And The Sea. The connection is between the novels two protagonists, Thomas Hudson and Santiago; two men lost in cultures they no longer identify with. We encounter their shared passion for the sea and their progressive detachment from human relationships on land.

The work follows this progression beginning with a love for the culture of Cuba combined with a respect for the power of man and his unity with the sea. However, we realize, along with the protagonists, that their paradise of youth and culture is fading in the progressive transformation in Cuba. The two characters go through a sense of deconstruction: Thomas Hudson alienates himself from society and Santiago, after eliminating his ego out at sea, concludes that he does not belong on land, but understands that he is not greater than the sea, and because of this deconstruction he becomes aware that the sea is the mother of all creation and that he is only as significant as any other creature in the cycle of life. We conclude with the revolution of Castro and the acceptance by both characters that the political world that surrounds them is not a part of their lives and they resign to the sea as a way to cope with a cultural dissatisfaction.

I. Bimini Island, 1946

The theme of "Bimini Island, 1946" is the contrast of Thomas Hudson's disenchanted state of mind with the inherent pride of Bimini's native culture. The release relates to not only the self-respect the people of Bimini have for their hard working culture, but Thomas Hudson's pride for his sons; whose visits are sparse, just as the release is.

II. Sea Interlude 1

The focus here is the power of the prominent voice as it relates to the all-encompassing spirit of the sea as the mother of all creation. We return to Hudson's sense of dissolution, but we retain an honest respect for the sea as a power beyond the simplicity of man.

III. ¡Cuba! "The Old Man from Havana", Santiago, Dance 1

The robust nature of the rhythm with its bold brass and powerful strings creates the foundation for Santiago's theme. The patriotic strings show the people's view of a young Santiago, full of immature arrogance, which resigns to Santiago's reflection of old age. This acquiescence into loneliness defines Santiago as an old man lost in a culture that cannot accept him; his only relief is his bond to the sea.

IV. Cuban Night Music, Dance 2

This piece characterizes the beautiful city life of Havana in the 1940's. It begins slowly, warming up to the evening with its dry heat and lively native clubs. The tranquility of this pre-festive movement conjures the warm sunset sliding shadows through the streets.

V. Out to Sea

The authority and solitude of Santiago opens this movement along with the expanse and power of the sea; characterized by the ambient, but heavy nature of the sustained bass. The orchestra hits provide our entrance into the brutality of the sea and Santiago's ensuing struggle with the marlin, but the brutality is not without the joyous theme of brotherhood. The speed and force of the theme signify the tumultuous battle and as we begin to feel the power of Santiago we are directed into his storm and fog of self-doubt. As a young man he lived cocky and sure, but his age has limited him physically and this natural degradation has provided him with doubt about his control. The fog represents Santiago's battle with ego and as we return to the initial theme there is a sense of harmony, not with strength, but understanding. A communion with the marlin has given birth to Santiago's acceptance of his insignificance and the veneration for his mother, the ocean.

VI. The Woman

The love theme is Thomas Hudson's struggle between his static wishes and his dynamic lifestyle. He wants his love back, but only as the pedestal he has created within his loneliness. His true loves; the sea, the woman and his sons, fully characterize his conflictive mentality. With the sea, we uncover his dynamic need to live and his relationship with his boys shows the bridge between his relationship with the sea and his static wishes for a life on land. The love theme is a concept of "wishful thinking" as Thomas Hudson wants the ideal view of the woman, not the actual relationship. This ideal is his static delusion and lost love forming his refusal to accept the present state of his human relationships.

VII. Havana Nights, Dance 3

The Cuban night music resurfaces with an intrepid feel of cultural patriotism. The potency of the culture is beginning its transgression into a state of underdevelopment, where it will solidify and continue with the revolution and rise of Castro. There is an eminent sense of sorrow infused in the audacity of this theme.

VIII. The Boys

Here we return to further Thomas Hudson's character as a middle ground between the realism of his life on land and his escapism with the sea. The fishing excursions with his boys are the bridge between these two worlds. The warmth of the cello, clarinet and seashore gives an aspect of reconciliation, albeit temporary, between nature and man: Thomas Hudson as a channel between the sea and his boys.

IX. Sea Interlude 2

This movement has more intensity as the natural progression of the characters leads to a sense of yielding to the ocean. The all-encompassing female voice is the sea as Alpha and Omega, as the beginning and end: bookends to the lives of men. There is a sense of serenity, but not without the potential to explode and dominate.

X. 1959 Castro Revolution

This is a theme of loss. We encounter the cultural Cuba turning into a fallen state of revolution. This dynamic change forces the retreat of Thomas Hudson to Bimini, his escapist comfort zone. This is also the bookend to Santiago, a man who now understands his role in the life cycle. However, on land, he is lost; especially now in a time of political revolution; a situation that does not include him. We reprise as Thomas Hudson and Santiago return to the love affairs they have with the sea, escaping from the dissatisfaction of life on land.

Production Credits

United Media Productions, Ltd.
A Manolin-Blue Water Production
Santiago and Islands in the Gulf Stream

Recorded at U.M.P. Studios, April, 2004

Assistant Recording Engineer:
Scott Rudin

Art Direction and Graphic Design by
Justin Goh

Liner Notes by
Ryan J. McCarthy

Additional Research by
Jeanne Salladé Criswell and Tracy Barr

Photography of Cuba by
Peter Glogg,

Additional Photography by
Kwok Chern Yeh

Creative Design Consultant:
Nancy Donald

Associate Producers:
Peter R. Rosenthal and Michael Kintz

Printed by
Aires Press Inc., Nancy Laniewshi & Bill Hameder

CD Titles and Duplication by
Little City Ballroom, Gary Britton

Digital Equipment by Sony

A & R Coordinator:
Chad Canadey

Spanish Translations by
Gustavo Jiménez and Lola Jiménez

Special thanks to
the English Department of DePaul University, Dr Hugh Ingrasci

©2004 United Media Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.