Nightshade is an instrumental dark-room, a grave-yard of low-pitched, tight-knitted, crawling chords sliced asunder by the cold extremely high positioned movements of the oboe and violin in particular: tones sustained to near-immobility and then scared into startling velocity, like geckoes on a Southern garden wall.
Shades in the night are pale and gloomy phenomenons to behold; treacherous beauties in the mighty realm of invisibility and blackness. Belladonna (beautiful lady) is the morbid christening of that fearsome variety of flora: the deadly nightshade.
The piece is, on one hand, a study in extreme sonorities; the infrequently used contrabass clarinet is being employed along with the contra-bassoon, forming the ultra-low foundation of the score and the bottom-register of the French horn and the trombone is set against the serene clarity of high violin and oboe.
On the other hand, the piece is a tone-poem of sorts, on the various associations as they form within the mind of the individual listener when confronted with the very word Nightshade. Personally, I come to think of pale moonlight, tombstones, the compelling as well as frightening spell of a dark forest. A Study in black the piece has been called.
- Poul Ruders