“…you have to pinch yourself in order to remember that The Ocean Symphony didn’t come directly from live players.”
— Michael Gallant, Keyboard Magazine
In 2004, a journey began that would forever change the life of Stephan Carroll. The result of this journey? An epic music composition entitled “Symphony No. 1 in G Major.” After five months of work, the music is complete. It is now offered for free download from this website. It is the sincere hope of the artist that you will enjoy this music as much as he enjoyed composing it. Be sure to read through the annotations for more information on this musical journey.
Full MP3 Downloads
(all files are encoded at 128kbps)
Movement I – Opening Fanfare, The Journey, and The Arrival
10.7mb, 11:25 duration
Movement II – The Storm
7.9mb, 8:28 duration
Movement III – Reflections
9.5mb, 10:12 duration
Movement IV – Dawn of Rebirth & Grand Finale
9.3mb, 9:54 duration
To most people, a week’s vacation at the beach is a relaxing time away from the ordinary—a diversion from the hectic lifestyle of today’s chaotic world. However, Stephan Carroll chose to interpret such a week in an epic music composition—his first symphony.
In July 2004, Stephan departed for a week’s vacation at Oak Island, NC, with a group of close friends. At age 23, this was the first time he had ever been to the ocean. Shortly before leaving on this trip, he saw a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony on the PBS program “Great Performances,” featuring the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Hearing Thomas describe the scope of powerful human emotions conveyed in orchestral music, Stephan was inspired to compose a symphony of his own. And what better inspiration could there be than seeing the ocean for the first time?
The symphony is romantic in style, and is composed of several themes which repeat throughout the composition. Each movement represents a different aspect of the journey, from the opening 12 hour-long car ride (including the tension when the car broke down) to the fond farewells on the final day. While relaxing by the ocean, Stephan spent countless hours listening to performances of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies. He drew much inspiration from these pieces—there is even a brief “Ode to Tchaikovsky” in the closing moments of the grand finale.
The trip to the beach was a life-changing event for Stephan, and he is pleased to share it through this performance. So sit back and experience the magic of the ocean through the eyes of someone seeing it for the first time.
Here we will take a more detailed look at the inner workings of Symphony No. 1. Each movement is broken down into sections, with detailed descriptions of the inspirations for each passage of music.
Stephan Carroll’s recording [Symphony No. 1 in G Major] is a full-blown, four-section 40-minute symphony — all recorded with a hybrid virtual orchestra consisting of pro sound libraries, custom samples, and freeware. The composer’s instruments are highly expressive and, given the well-hewn romantic music itself, you have to pinch yourself in order to remember that The Ocean Symphony didn’t come directly from live players. Inspired by a one-week beach vacation in North Carolina, the symphony is an exciting musical expedition indeed. “Opening Fanfare, the Journey & the Arrival” brings to mind both Tchaikovsky (one of Stephan’s primary influences) and classic John Williams film scores, while “The Storm” builds and thunders with raucous majesty. If you’re of the opinion that tonality is old news when it comes to contemporary classical music, you might just learn a thing or two from Mr. Carroll, Keyboard’s much-deserving Unsigned Artist of the Month.