"Black Moon" is an expansive (approx. 42 min.) symphonic composition for viola, violin, cello and mid-size orchestra. It consists of 7 movements and I conceived an original story for the underlying narrative. It gave me guidance for conceptualizing the dramatic structure, but, although I love the story-telling capability of music, the story is by no means a requisite for "understanding" this piece, though there is a certain logic to the order of the parts. The 4th movement, in scherzo style, lends itself best for stand-alone listening or performing. The 6th and 7th movement are not available in audio yet.
These are digital renderings, using Vienna Symphonic Library for orchestral sound samples.
Location: Cove of a Norwegian fjord, the medieval Inn "The Black Moon" part of a remote, tiny hamlet. Dramatis Personae: Innkeeper, guests, the sage, town-council men, Prince Vannetsgud, the counterpart of Nökken (or Nykkjen) both legendary water spirits, one good, one evil.
I. Lunar Eclipse (Prelude, 5:43)
At dusk clouds over the fjord turn dark when very slowly a full lunar eclipse sets in. Occasional wind gusts and high waves, eerie tranquility and intermittent lightning and thunder, it all sets the stage for the majestic view of the blackening moon and darkening fjord; then eventually the clouds move out and the sky opens.
Notice: This movement starts with a 12 measure crescendo (pp > f), just so you know before you crank it up!
II. Rush To The Cove (Andante, 6:51)
A peaceful evening it is, until suddenly the Innkeeper's infant boy falls feverishly ill; commotion ensues when his health rapidly deteriorates. Guests wake up, townsmen are alerted, but no-one knows what to do. By lack of a village doctor, the old sage is called in and he calms everyone down. As luck will have it, there is a chance, and only one chance, he says, to help the infant survive. Legend has it that, only during a lunar eclipse, Prince Vannetsgud may rise from the water and use his healing powers. But they will have to descend to the cove and beg the water-spirit for help. The townspeople, the sage and guests alike start rushing their way to the cove below, down a treacherous path.
III. Rise Spirit, Rise (Adagio, 8:41)
(Based in part on the Norwegian traditional folk song “Heiemo og Nykkjen”*)
The sage tells guests and villagers to start chanting the ancient call for Vannetsgud's appearance. The water begins to whirl wildly but instead it is Nykkjen, the evil creature, who suddenly lashes out, threatening to drag people under and drown them. Fortunately, he fails. Then, finally, after a prayer and a ceremonial dance, the deep waters start churning, slowly, then faster. A vortex-in-reverse emerges and with increasing speed lifts Prince Vannetsgud up out of the water, while crashing waves throw him on the rocky shore. He is barely able to stand up when he receives the song* in his honor.
IV. Return To The Inn (Scherzo, 5:53)
What was supposed to be a hopeful and joyful parade back to the Inn, unintentionally turns somewhat chaotic as the visibility diminishes and the Prince merely manages to stumble along. In their rush to get back to the Inn, the villagers are getting increasingly disoriented and discouraged. When they finally make it all the way up the treacherous path to the door of the Inn, the sage hails the safe return, however, the lunar eclipse reaches its peak while Vannetsgud is almost at the point of exhaustion.
V. Beyond Breath (Allegro lamentoso, 9:07)
The infant displays signs of high fever and while he fades out of consciousness, the Prince is gasping for air, desperately trying to harness his healing powers. Hope vanishes as time goes by. With the guests and villagers standing helplessly by the Prince gives it his best effort but his powers deplete rapidly; after a short while he collapses and falls to the ground.At that precise moment, the infant opens his eyes and starts to mumble softly, oblivious of his good fortune and his surroundings. By now, the lunar eclipse is in its last throws, but the Prince's breathing has halted. The onlookers are torn between joy and sorrow for rebirth and death.
VI. Savior's Farewell (Funeral March, 4:10)
Vannetgud's burial takes place the next day at sunrise, in the rocky field behind the Inn. The innkeeper, the guests, the towns people and the sage pay their last respects to the once powerful and legendary water creature and bring their last salute to the infant's savior when they lower Vannetsgud in his shallow grave. The sage reminds his people that with his death the power for good has gone forever and that the only power remaining is the power of evil.
No audio available yet
VII. The Landslide (Vivace, 3:17)
That night, filled with happiness for the boy's survival but sadness for the Prince's passing, brings thunderstorms and torrential downpours to the hamlet, causing waterfalls and mudslides to keep gushing from the mountain side, taking rocks and vegetation down with them into the cove in a roaring ordeal. At sunrise, after the storm, a pale sunlight reveals the Inn damaged and the field behind the Inn washed out, without a trace of the Prince's grave or of the Prince himself.
No audio available yet
Did Vannetsgud slide back into the deep waters where he belongs? Did he come alive, resurrect--and will hope live on?--
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