The two movements of Nocturnal were written with a gab of three years. The last movement, which bears the title The Wings of Night, was commisioned by Warsaw Autumn in 1998, while the first movement – Mondnacht – was commisioned for Ultima Festival in Oslo in 2001. Despite the three years gab, these are not two separate pieces which have been linked together. The sketches for the first movement were begun immediately after the first performance of the second movement in Warsaw 1998.
As the title suggests, there is a nocturnal atmosphere in the work. In the first movement we are perhaps in a park and notice the shadows of the clouds passing the bright moon. In the short second movement we are perhaps with Shakespeare’s Juliet, calling for love, calling for the night:
”Come night; come Romeo; come, thou day in night;
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whither than snow upon a raven’s back.”
...perhaps we are elsewhere – at night!
Nocturnal was written for Christian Lindberg and the Arditti Quartet and premiered in Oslo in 2001.