Curvature

The curvature of the seawall at the western shoreline of Brockton Point, Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada. 14 September 2014. (Photo: Hendrik Slegtenhorst)

The curvature of the seawall at the western shoreline of Brockton Point, Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada. 14 September 2014. (Photo: Hendrik Slegtenhorst)

The point is named after Francis Brockton, the senior engineer aboard the HMS Plumper, a Royal Navy survey sloop commanded by Captain George Henry Richards. A plumper is something that plunges abruptly into water. Brockton discovered coal nearby, and Richards named the waters Coal Harbour.

From the early 1870s until Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery opened in 1887, Brockton Point and Deadman’s Island were used as burial sites for British merchant seamen as well as people from Moodyville (which became part of the City of North Vancouver), Hastings Sawmill, and the Granville townsite.

The tides flow quickly here, and standing waves form near shore. Standing waves are caused by friction of the water along the sea floor, and become markedly shorter and higher as the water is drawn over a rise in the sea bed. Thus the waves crest and break in the same spot. They modulate, according to natural law.

Brockton Point is the start of the original Seawall, built to stop the erosion of the shore, by tidal action, in that area. It was a joint project begun, in 1914, between the Park Board and the Government of Canada, that also included erecting the Brockton Point Lighthouse.

Annotation, the opening allegro of the Trio for Clarinet, ‘Cello, and Piano, in A minor, Op 114, borrowed from Johannes Brahms.

Inspired in the last decade of his life by hearing Richard Mühlfeld play in Meiningen, the Trio was composed by Brahms in 1891. The trio was premiered in Berlin that December. It is a piece that has the austere expressiveness of the ambiguity of lost love.

Mühlfeld, originally a violinist when he joined the Meiningen orchestra in 1873, was, incredibly over three years, a self-taught clarinettist, and became the principal clarinettist of the orchestra. Moreover, in the 1880s he also became the principal clarinettist of the Bayreuth Festival orchestra. For Mühlfeld Brahms also composed the clarinet quintet, Op. 115, and the two sonatas for clarinet and piano, Op. 120.

In my estimation, as a former clarinettist, the trio is one of the half dozen finest pieces in the clarinet literature, along with Mozart’s quintet K. 581, concerto K. 622, and trio K. 498, and Brahms’s own quintet, Op. 115.

Brahms and Mühlfeld became close friends, and it was with Mühlfeld and a few other close friends that Brahms lunched a week before his death, in Vienna, of liver cancer, six years later.

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