Nocturnalia : for orchestra
by John Peterson (2001)
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Nocturnalia takes its name from the concept of a 'saturnalia', and thus celebrates, in a dance-like orgy of rhythmic energy, all things nocturnal. Traditionally, the night symbolises the period of gestation, or germination, which will burst out into life in broad daylight. It is endowed with every potentiality of being, but to go into the night is to return to a state of indeterminacy and intermingle with nightmares, monsters and 'black thoughts'. Night is the image of the unconscious and, in the darkness of sleep, the unconscious is set free. Like all symbols, the night displays a twofold aspect - that of the shadowy world of the brooding future, and that of the prelude to daylight when the light of life will shine forth.
"Earth, O Earth return!
Arise from out the dewy grass,
Night is worn
And the morn
Rises from the slumberous mass."
from 'Songs of Experience' by William Blake
Instrumentation: 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, clarinet in B flat, bass clarinet, bassoon, contra-bassoon, 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, strings.
Duration: 6 min.
Commission note: Commissioned by Symphony Australia, Australian Music Centre for performance by West Australian Symphony Orchestra.. Composed as part of the 2001 Australian Composers' Orchestral Forum.
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