“I hope you don’t mind my saying that I smelled clams during the first movement.” I said, “No, that is quite all right. They are your clams.” Each individual is free to interpret as he wishes. Walter Piston
This is part of New England Sketches, the one titled, “Seaside.” Now, to me seaside is something pleasant and peaceful. This piece wasn’t peaceful at all. Although not sounding like a storm, it provoked apprehension while I listened to it.
It is an interesting piece in what it is by not being so. It is not a symphony, yet together with the two other sketches, it follows symphonic development. It is inspired by the New England, but it is not programmatic music. Piston gave the the listener has the final say on this work: if you want to hear it as a symphony or programmatic music, you can.