• Thea Musgrave
  • Aurora (1999)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by The Colburn School of Performing Arts

  • str
  • 10 min

Programme Note

….yonder shines Aurora's harbinger;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards.
Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream. III ii line 379


This work was commissioned for the young students of the Colburn School of Performing Arts to play, and it seemed to me that Aurora - Dawn - or the coming of light, would be an apt title. It would represent the potential and the musical burgeoning of young talent.

The music thus starts mysteriously, even tentatively, with a short melodic theme played by solo viola and accompanied by low soft chords emphasizing the note D. These two elements, in a variety of guises, keys and continuations, build in a gradual crescendo, till after a brief moment of darkness where "ghosts troop home", dawn finally arrives in the shape of a luminous D major chord. The music becomes "full and joyous" and in a brief coda, where the music seems suspended, all clouds dissolve and the D major turns out to be a dominant and on the very last note resolves to a G.

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