Composed: 2011
Commission: Henry and Mary Doll, inspired by “the camp”
Duration:  11.5 minutes
Instrumentation: flute (picc), clarinet (bcl), violin, cello, piano, percussion


Lonely Lake was commissioned by Hank and Mary Doll and is inspired by their “camp”.  On Lonely Lake in Canada and accessible only by boat, this small settlement of cabins has been in the family for over 100 years.  Picture Hank walking through the woods to the lake in the first light of dawn.  Everything is quiet and still with just an occasional birdcall.  The music begins with instrumental renditions of these birdcalls - the sandhill crane, the belted kingfisher, the wood thrush, and the song sparrow.  Then Lonely Lake goes on to reflect Hank’s early morning swim – gradual sounds of the swishing water at the beginning of the swim that gain momentum into a steady breast stroke and then the beauty and brilliance of the rising sun glinting on the water and in the eyes.  Of his early morning swims, Hank says: “On the mornings when the sun isn't shrouded by clouds, I'm usually looking directly into it. When I close my eyes, I always see a vivid orange/red color, which is split by the silvery brilliance of the sun.  If I keep my eyes closed for a few strokes, the colors change somewhat, particularly when I put my head under water. Usually the sun-streak becomes blue, often looking a bit like a jagged fence or a deep blue insignia. The image takes on the quality of some Indian paintings I've seen where primary colors are used to depict the boldness and awesomeness of nature.”  Lonely Lake progresses through musical development of the birdcalls and swimming motifs into busy daytime activities, and ends with the sounds of loons at dusk.


"Lonely Lake is a fascinating modern approach to creating birdsong within a piece that depicts other aspects of the natural world.  The result is an often almost impressionistic tone poem with a sort of Satie-like feel at times as the waves gently undulate in strings and warm clarinet sounds in its opening bars.  The music here lies in stark contrast to the intense writing of the earlier pieces, though the music is very “modern”.  More traditional flashes of harmonic ideas, and the rather exciting builds in the music help provide some exciting energy as the music progresses." - Steven Kennedy, Cinemusical, June 2014

"Lonely Lake," for the Blue Streak Ensemble, is a depiction of a single day at the remote cabin where the composer sensed hope for the future in the face of the troubling events that dominate the tone of much of this release.  The imitation loon calls that conclude this piece are particularly engrossing, inviting meditation with the aloof realness of the woods." - Seth Tompkins, Second Inversion, Naxos CD review, June 2014

Margaret on the dock at Lonely Lake

Margaret on the dock at Lonely Lake

The call of the Loon on Flying Pond, Maine. The peaceful sounds of this bird can be heard in Brouwer's "Lonely Lake"

Common Loon calling on Goose Lake

"Hovering, staccato strings and little percussion sounds open this piece, creating the sounds of nature. The strings slowly rise in long drawn melancholy chords as the nature sounds from flute and percussion continue. Slowly a melody appears leading to a wildly varied development as the instruments become more animated with percussion outbursts. Later the music quietens with some exquisite melodic sounds. Eventually the pace picks up with percussion driving the rhythmic momentum until the strange atmospheric sounds return before the hushed coda. This is another brilliantly descriptive piece expertly played by Blue Streak ensemble."  - Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer, 2014

"'Lonely Lake' (eleven and a half minutes) was commissioned by a Canadian couple and named for their small settlement accessible only by boat. It explicitly includes the calls of several birds: sand hill crane, wood thrush, belted kingfisher and song sparrow early on, and it closes with sounds of loons at dusk. In between there are suggestions of human activity – swimming in early morning in brilliant sunshine, something Brouwer sees in terms of vivid color. Strictly musical effects include percussion ranging from vigorous to gentle and fluttery, and a jazzy passage. My wife loves this piece."  - James Tobin, Classical Net Review, 2014

"Brouwer artfully creates musical representations of a sand hill crane, wood thrush, belted kingfisher, and song sparrow, along with the solitude of an early morning swim and the glowing reflection of sun on water."  - Mike Telin, ClevelandClassical, July 2014

“Lonely Lake (2011) depicts scenes and feelings associated with Lonely Lake in Canada. Like "Shattered Glass", the scoring is colorful – with lots of percussion effects – but the mood is more serene and playful.” – Robert Cummings, Classical Net, 2014