David Fennessy: Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon)

David Fennessy Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon)
Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon)

David Fennessy: Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon)

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for orchestra
David Fennessy
3 3 3 3 - 4 2 3 1 - table guit (or bar. electric guit), timp, perc(3), pno, str(12 10 8 8 6), 30 frog guiros (played by the orchestra musicians)
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute
1st oboe
2nd oboe
cor anglais
1st clarinet in Bb
2nd clarinet in Bb
bass clarinet in Bb
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
3rd horn in F
4th horn in F
1st trumpet in C
2nd trumpet in C
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
1st percussion
2nd percussion
3rd percussion
table guitar (or baritone electric guitar)
violin I(12)
violin II(10)
double bass(6)
frog guiros or similar very small guiros (for c.a., b. cl., cbsn., pno., vln. I (6x), vln. II (5x), vla. (8x), vc. (4x) and D.B. (3x))
Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and first performed by them, conducted by Ilan Volkov, on May 11, 2013, in Glasgow City Halls during the ‘Tectonics’ weekend.
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Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon)

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon) constitutes the first part of a trilogy of pieces I am composing based on the diaries of the German film director Werner Herzog which he kept during the troubled production of his 1982 movie Fitzcarraldo and later published as the book Conquest of the Useless. The movie itself concerns the doomed efforts of a turn of the century rubber baron to build an opera house in the middle of the Peruvian jungle and the central, iconic image from the movie of a steamship being hauled over a mountain has been somehow translated here into a gigantic glissando, starting in the depths of the orchestra and slowly climbing. I wanted this piece to have all the grandeur and over-the-top emotions of a romantic opera overture and as I began to compose, that wish became more and more literally realised with snatches of Rigoletto writhing in the undegrowth accompanied high above by the “melancholy peeping” of tree-frogs.

World première

Glasgow (GB)
BBC Scottish SO
Ilan Volkov


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