Three Nocturnes (2014-2015): II-III

for large orchestra (3[picc.].3[e.h.].3[bs.cl.].3[cbsn.] 4.2.3.1 timp+3 hp strings)

Nocturnes (2014-2015) is a set of three symphonic poems based on nighttime scenes in places I had visited the previous summer. As in Debussy’s famous Nocturnes, the music is not a literal representation of nocturnal sounds, but rather an evocation of the feelings aroused in these peculiar environments. Stylistically, it also bears the influence of some of my favorite composers to whom I was listening at the time, including Mahler, Bartók, and Sibelius.

For On the Bare Mountain, imagine yourself sleeping under the stars on a grassy mountainside in the Rockies. Miles from the nearest highway, with the marmots snug in their dens and the only nearby humans, the silence is total and profound. Without any trees for the wind to whistle and rustle through, you can’t even hear it, but only feel it brushing across your face.

Goblins Forest depicts a brisk ascent into the high country through stunted alpine trees forming grotesque, twisted shapes in the predawn darkness. Gradually, the sky changes to twilight, and then to sunrise, illuminating a sheer mountain wall with salmon-colored clouds zooming off its summit at frightening speed. In transcendent moments like these, the iconic beauty of the natural world affords us a glimpse of the power and majesty of the Creator.

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