Acquainted with the Night

Composer
Year of composition
2008
Lyricist
none
Difficulty
Difficult (Grades 7+)
Duration
10 minutes
Genre
Modern classical music
Instrumentation
Orchestra
Instrumental parts
Not available

*PARTS COMING SOON - If required sooner, please email* Written as one of my commissioned works for my MA qualification at the University of Salford. Acquainted with the Night takes its inspiration from the Robert Frost poem of the same name. It is dedicated �P. M. � in memoriam� as a tribute to a very close friend, who sadly passed away in June 2007 after losing his battle with cancer. In common with some of my other works - …by the splendour of the moon… and Prelude to the Dawn � the music the central theme relates to the spiritual connection between the night and fate. The music opens with a rising motif in the cellos and basses on which many different themes in the piece are built. Tension continues to build at figure 1, with an expressive transfiguration of the rising motif in the oboe and bassoon accompanied by an insistent rhythmic line in the strings. A violent outburst at figure 2 takes us through strong rhythmic material to figure 3 where the first of many of the principal thematic ideas are established. Material from the opening of the piece is revisited in the slow section after figure 4, which develops into a desolate, soul-searching passage at figure 5. At figure 6, a romantic melody is established in the cor anglais, but the mood is soon displaced by the more sinister undercurrent of the accompaniment. After a short cadenza on the cor anglais, a short brass fanfare at figure 7 leads us into a quicker section, with an anxious melodic motif in the cellos and basses � soon extended to include tuba and bassoons. The music progresses until the horns herald the transition into a reprise of material first heard at figure 3, at figure 8. An expansive maestoso section follows, bringing us into music increasingly written within modes of limited transposition, as used by Messaien. A descending figure in the cellos and basses before figure 12 signifies fate, before a reprise of the opening of the piece. Following this, a calmer atmosphere is established, again using modes of limited transposition in both the harp and flute accompaniment as well as the melodies in the clarinet, oboe and bassoon. At this point, an offstage cornet is featured. A short but peaceful cornet cadenza follows, before the harp re-enters, leading us to the close of the piece, featuring the �fate� motif� once again in the low strings, which finish the work with a short �protest�, before settling at the very bottom of the register. I have not designed the music to be overtly programmatic, in a �bar-by-bar� sense, but, for me, the music is a battle between fate, optimism, dejection and acceptance. The prominence of the cornet solo is particularly poignant for me � P.M. was a well respected and accomplished cornet player. His support through my formative years as a musician were so appreciated, and his passing left a void in my own and, I know, many others� lives. I hope that this complex music goes some way to expressing my thoughts towards a much esteemed musical influence in my life.

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