Constellations, At Night
126.96.36.199 - 188.8.131.52 - 4xPerc - Pno - Hp - Stgs
Winner of the 2020 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Award & Juilliard Orchestra Composition Competition
It is perhaps that this piece should not be overly introduced. Much like the constellations it claims to refer to, I believe that part of its appeal relies on ambiguity. As such, I would advise concertgoers to read these program notes no further and instead, if you must, only do so after having heard the piece in its entirety.
Originally titled ‘Fantastique Voyage’, ‘Constellations, At Night’ was originally completed in 2019 and underwent a significant revision in 2021. You will hear throughout a significant use of the percussion section, all members of which have been given a primary presence. Woven in the fabric, you’ll be able to note the focus on the mallets instruments, followed by the timpani, and finally the drums in a section originally scored for drum kit.
I will use the term section lightly as there is no separation between ideas. Instead, like the eyes trailing over the sky, the orchestra glides between emotions highlighting the increasingly tumultuous nature of the objects it encounters. As it progresses, you will notice a sense of angularity, of harsh forwardness settling in whereby the joy emitted in one moment will be taken over by a dark momentum in the next, and continuing as such until the end.
There is however a connecting thread tying these elements, an “idée fixe” á la Berlioz, a seemingly mundane rising set triplets that, appear to point upwards. Their significance however, I will leave with you to unravel.
The Juilliard Orchestra, Cond. Dr. Jeffrey Millarsky - 10/12/21