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Nocturnalia : for orchestra

by John Peterson (2001)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Kevin Field from the CD 2001 Australian Composers' Orchestral Forum.

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2001 Australian Composers' Orchestral Forum.


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.


2001 Australian Composers' Orchestral Forum.

Library shelf no. CD 821 [Available for loan]



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Nocturnalia : for orchestra / John Peterson.

Library shelf no. Q 784.2/PET 4 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (1 more)  

Work Overview

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

Work Details

Year: 2001

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.

Difficulty: Advanced

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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