Serenata Oscura ?cinque immagini delle notti tenebrose?

for Chamber Ensemble

Sydney Hodkinson

Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

Perhaps due to my 45-plus years of conducting others? music for contemporary chamber groups, only once did I compose for ?my own? ensemble (November Voices: 1975). Upon leaving my academic conducting post, it now seemed fitting to personally revisit the medium.

The result was three compositions: Chaconne in Bb , its ?cousin?, Stony Brook Jam, both spirited, jazz influenced works, and the present Serenata Oscura (Dark Serenade). The latter is a suite: a mixture of short pieces (?five gloomy-night images?) which are through-composed and, by and large, do not conform to conventional formal designs. While they are simply brief ?ensemble? songs, the dexterity and precision demanded of the eleven players is, at times, considerable.

The work as a whole began as an homage to the memory of my two principal composition teachers: Bernard Rogers (1863-1968) and Ross Lee Finney (1906-1997). Their sage advice is with me still. As the work progressed, I then decided to additionally dedicate each movement to five live composers whose friendly counsel has been part of my life for many years now: John Harbison, Christopher Rouse, Bernard Rands, Joseph Schwantner, and William Bolcom.

Forming the genesis of the limited harmonic and melodic materials in the piece are musical mottos derived from my teachers? names and my own, the variants of which recur throughout as a cyclical binding-force.

The five ?images? of Serenata Oscura are roughly twenty minutes in duration , with the first two and last two played without interruption. The work is scored for pairs of woodwind, brass, and percussion, four solo strings, and piano. It was composed in August of 1998 in Fairport, New York and the scoring completed two years later in Ormond-by-the-Sea, Florida. Partial funding was provided by the Institute for American Music of the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester) as a commission for the Eastman MUSICA NOVA Ensemble, Bradley Lubman, conductor, who led the premiere performance in Rochester, New York during the 2001-2002 concert season.

Available on Rental

Additional Information

Commission Institute for American Music of the Eastman School of Music for the Musica Nova Ensemble
Composition Date 1999
Duration 00:19:00
Orchestration 1(dbl. Picc./Alto Fl.) 0 1 0 - 0 1 1 0; 2Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Str. (1 0 1 1 1)
Premiere 12th October, 2001. Musica Nova, Bradley Lubman, conductor; Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY.


Prelude: Last Rays
1. Twilight Sleep
2. Nightfall Specters
3. Nocturnal Whirlwind
4. Midnight Clouds - Adagio, doloroso
Interlude: Autota
5. Shadow Phantoms