Night-Sea Music takes its subject and title from a short story by John Barth, in which a confused and reluctant spermatozoon narrates its journey through darkness. In the piece, small music boxes are driven by slow electric motors attached via rubber cables, which curl and release intermittently. The spasmodic movements of the piece evoke the maneuvering of spermatozoa, whose brief existence is a suicidal mission to carry information through a difficult environment. The music boxes play the folk tune “The Merry Widow,” an acknowledgement of the overwhelmingly futile energies expended by those determined, wriggling cells.