Satellite of Love and Fear : a cycle of five songs and two piano interludes
by John Peterson (2017)
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Library shelf no. 783.66547/PET 2 [Not for loan]
The Moon, Earth's only satellite, has always had a strong
influence on us: not only in a physical sense, in that the Moon
controls the changing ocean tides, but also in a psychological
sense, where it can have a profound effect on our collective
imaginations. When the Moon is full, the effects of moonlight can
be evocative and atmospheric, often both beautiful and eerie.
However, during a new moon, where there is no visible moon in the
sky, a darkness inhabits the night-time sky that creates an
atmosphere much more mysterious and potentially much more
foreboding. The new moon and lunar eclipses created a sense of
fear amongst the populations of earlier civilisations and, even
today, these events can still evoke not only a sense of wonder
and excitement but also strong feelings of trepidation. On the
one hand, we fear the darkness, but we are also love the effect
of the light of the Moon - it is a powerful dichotomy.
Satellite of Love and Fear is a song cycle that examines, through five songs and two piano interludes, our fascination with the Moon. The texts for four of the songs are taken from diverse poets who lived in quite different parts of the world, thus offering a variety of perspectives on our relationship with the Moon. The final song is a setting of the words spoken by Edgar Mitchell, the sixth person to walk on the Moon (in 1971), as he looked back at the Earth from this supremely unique vantage point. This song cycle, therefore, takes us on a journey from the image of a lone person on Earth looking up at the Moon ("Alone and Drinking Under the Moon"), to the image of a lone person looking from the Moon back towards Earth ("From Behind the Moon").
Instrumentation: Soprano, piano.
Duration: 30 min.
Contents note: Alone and Drinking Under the Moon (ca. 6:45) -- Full Moon Rhyme (ca. 1:50) -- Interlude 1: The Waning Moon / New Moon (ca. 4:00) -- Moonlight in the Forest (ca. 4:00) -- Prayer to the Young Moon (ca. 4:10) -- Interlude 2: The Waxing Moon / Full Moon (ca. 3:45) -- From Behind the Moon (ca. 5:55).
Commission note: Commissioned by Wendy Dixon.
Texts from: Li Po ('Alone and drinking under the moon') ; Judith Wright ('Full moon rhyme') ; Aaro Hellaakoski ('Moonlight in the forest').
'Prayer to the Young Moon' is a hymn of the San bushmen of Southern Africa
(from Specimens of Bushman folklore (1911)).
- In the form/style of: Song Cycles
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