Flute part from Die Nacht fallt

10 minutes
Modern classical music

Die Nacht fällt (The Night Falls), was written for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 2003 21st Century Australian Composers’ Program between February and May 2003. This piece is part of a trio of works that use similar musical elements to emphasise various representations of Night. Die Nacht fällt represents its sinister side, something with which we have associated night for an age. The main emphasis of this work is to incorporate quartertones into a number of harmonic “Fields.” To make the distinction between these quartertonal Harmonic Fields obvious, each is given their own texture. The textures and gestures of this work constantly repeat, but with slight changes every time causing a gradual development. This repetitive predicament represents somewhat the cyclic nature of night.

The work is organised into three sections. The first section is violent with the main idea centered on quartertonal string glissandi. Gradually a melodic idea is added in the Oboe and Bassoon as well as a Brass static chordal gesture. A calmer trill and tremolo texture is added in between repeats of this initial gesture. The second section is calmer and slower emphasising a more melodic texture with sustained accompaniment. Bright metallic percussion representing points of light is also a feature. Different Harmonic Fields as well as the inversion of the original quartertonal Harmonic Field are used here. The third section is similar to the first only it becomes even more dense and violent, culminating in the climax of the work, before ending with a short reminiscent Coda composed of mostly string and woodwind harmonics.

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