New Music for Wind Ensemble and Chamber Ensembles

Charon's Lullaby

ID: SM-000190945
ComposerAmanda McCullough
PublisherAmanda McCullough
Year of composition 2011
Genre Classical / Instrumental
Instrumentation Flute, Flute piccolo, Clarinet, Bassoon, Oboe, Cor anglais, Trombone basso, Euphonium, Horn, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Double bass, Harp, Tubular Bells, Snare drum, Glockenspiel, Gong, Marimba, Triangle, Timpani, Vibraphone, Cymbals, Tam-tam, Contrabassoon, Bass drum, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Crotales, Contrabass clarinet, Flugelhorn
Scored forWind ensemble
Type of scoreParts
Duration 8'40"
Difficulty Difficult
Description Charon’s Lullaby started its life as a piece for orchestra in three movements. The opening offstage flugelhorn solo was originally written for unaccompanied cornet and was one of the first pieces that I wrote and performed. As I was beginning to write more for Wind Ensemble, I decided to combine the ideas of all three movements of the original orchestral piece and add accompaniment under the (now) flugelhorn solo.

Charon’s Lullaby represents a juxtaposition of sleep and death. In Greek mythology, Charon was the ferryman of the dead. This “Lullaby” is being sung by him as he ferries the souls across the river Acheron, in order to bring them peace. The piece begins with a lot of dissonance and the wails of ghosts can be heard through the brass. At the end, as the souls reach peace, the dissonance dissolves into Eb major.

The percussion act symbolically throughout such as twelve strikes in the chimes to represent midnight, then three more times at the end, representing the bewitching hour. The triangle adds a sparkle on top of the color of the ensemble reminiscent of the sound of a dreamcatcher or a wind chimes caught in a tiny gust of wind. The percussion and the harp together are evocative of a music box.

In the absence of a harp, a celesta may be substituted.
Upload date 10.09.2013


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