It Became Dark

Commissioned by the Kansas City Symphony

Year
2018
Duration
20 minutes

There is something very poignant about sleep. Sleep unites us: we all participate in this ritual, however different we may be. Over four movements, It Became Dark explores an emotional journey as night falls and sleep beckons.

As a child I was often afraid of bedtime; the imminent plunge into the unknown frightened me, and my parents came up with a nightly ritual to help calm me down. The first movement,“Ritual”, is child-like, simple, and tranquil, and depicts the tenderness of this time.

As I grew up, I’d sometimes ask for “three more minutes!” to play or read or whatever I was doing. The second movement of this work, which is orchestrated from an earlier solo piano work of a similar topic, attempts to portray these frenetic and playful moments.

The third movement describes stillness. Here my thoughts gravitated to a recent memory, late at night on the South Island of New Zealand. After a rain, my sister and I walked out on the road, in the middle of nowhere and in complete darkness, and we saw the Milky Way in all its grandeur. Our eyes were soon drawn to a nearby forest: glowworms illuminated the woods, creating their own miniature, shimmering constellations. In one mysterious, magical moment, we could witness the immense beauty and vast potential of our universe and compare it to the ephemeral beauty we have here on Earth.

The final movement is called "Sleep Music": a fleet, flowing lullaby that attempts to evoke the world of dreams.

Premiered by Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony in March 2018

Category
Orchestral Works
Instrumentation
2-2-2-2, 4-2-3-0, timp+1, hp, strings
view Other

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