for string orchestra
duration c. 00:05:30

I. Dusk
II. Lunar Dance

Program Note:

Nocturnal Music (2013) is a transcription for string orchestra of Two Movements for Wind Quintet (2012). The piece is a study on how far minute amounts of melodic and harmonic material can be stretched. The primary sonority of the first movement is a minor-major ninth chord. The omnipresent motive of the descending half-step is a result of the chord being revoiced so that the interval between the third and ninth of the chord changes from a minor ninth to a major seventh. This concept of “resolving” a dissonance to a lesser dissonance is present throughout the first movement. The jazz-influenced second movement features the dominant seventh sharp ninth chord, but retains melodic motives and certain harmonic passages from the first movement. The augmented scale sinuously weaves throughout both movements, and is the final tie that binds together two highly contrasting sections of music.

In adapting the wind quintet for strings, I strove to retain as much of the original material (notes, structure, etc.) as possible. When I found out that there was a chance the St. Olaf Orchestra would be able to premiere the first movement at a chapel service, I realized I needed to change the ending slightly so that it would fit with this program. The original Mvt. I ends on a split-third chord; I felt that the piece should have a better sense of closure if it was to be performed on its own, so I added an alternate ending that extends the music by 3 measures, and ends on open fifths. This, while still an ambiguous tonality, provides a better sense of resolution.

Performance History:

1.18.134:45pmCHM 140, St. Olaf CollegeSt. Olaf OrchestraReading session, student conductor Jesse Brault