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Thea Musgrave

Publisher: Novello & Co

Night Music (1969)
commissioned by the BBC
Chester Music Ltd
Sub Category
Chamber Orchestra
Year Composed
18 Minutes
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Programme Note
Thea Musgrave Night Music (1969)
Night Music was commissioned by the BBC and given its first performance by the BBC Welsh Orchestra in 1969.

In this work, the two horn players are featured in a soloistic and dramatic way. Contrasting musical ideas are explored dependent on where they are seated in the orchestra - more lyrical when they are seated close together, more dramatic later on, when they stand either side of the conductor at some distance from each other, and then near the end the musical contrasts are further heightened by the echo effects produced by one distant offstage horn.

As so often in dreams there are quickly changing moods; (frightening, eerie, peaceful, romantic, stormy), and so in this work highly contrasted musical sections quickly follow on from each other, they interchange and even at times overlap.

The dream landscape painted in Night Music is thus in one continuous movement. The different sections which indicate the changing moods are:
Andante notturanle: / Misterioso: /
Svegliato: (waking up) /
Andante Amoroso.
Piu mosso: con ardore: /
Appassionato: / Calmo: (here the two horns move to their new positions either side of the conductor) /
Minaccevole: (threatening) / Adagio (violins)/ Tempo di Marzia (led by Horn 2)/ Ad lib nervoso (Horn 1 and piccolo)
Tempestuoso: (here the first horn moves offstage) /
Tempo di Andante amoroso alternating with Scherzoso: / Tempo di Andante:misterioso

  • Ensemble
    Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    Nicholas Kraemer
    Collins Classics:
  • Ensemble
    Scottish Chamber Orchestra* / BBC Symphony Orchestra**
    Nicholas Daniel, oboe*
    Nicholas Kraemer* / Jac van Steen**
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