Luna, Nova Luna

In agrarian societies, the power of the moon, in all its manifestations, was worshiped, celebrated and feared. Even today, some of that fascination persists: who of us has not looked up at the night sky and been drawn in by the moon’s silvery presence? Luna, Nova Luna is my own response to the recurring patterns of the moon: its nightly rising, its longer cycle of waxing and waning

The origin of the piece is a bit unusual. It started with The Moon-Dance, which was composed as an independent piece for treble voices in 2002. When planning Luna, Nova Luna, it seemed quite natural to use the earlier work as a centerpiece to and from which other pieces of the moon-story could relate. The plan for a symmetrical structure (a favorite of this composer’s moon-addled brain) was the first idea, before any of the notes were written. Thus, processions at both the beginning and the end of the work, and music of welcome and praise (movements two and four) that lead up to and away from the central dance. I found the expansion of the overall story, with the dance as merely one component of that story, satisfying in a very different way than the original piece.

Having the expanded forces of two choirs allowed for more dramatic contrasts in sound: treble voices alone, mixed voices alone, younger treble voices with men, a multi-hued treble sound (using both adult and younger sopranos and altos as a unit), and of course, the full sound of both choirs together. The way these different forces are used and where they occur in the piece is a part of the unfolding drama of the music.