The Howling Infinite. (Original composition);
Ratliff, Phillip Warren
Doctor of Musical Arts
The Howling Infinite is an orchestral work inspired by portions of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Musical motives, gestures, and timbres in the work are derived from the text's rich imagery, suggesting such pictorial elements as the vastness of the ocean and the corresponding philosophical idea of the human spirit's search for the eternal. The title of the work was derived from Melville's belief that a life based on the contemplative search for truth and meaning, though it takes the seeker into confrontation with perilous truths, is by far more desirable than an existence of spiritual comfort and complacency. As Melville states, "so better it is to perish in that howling infinite than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee."