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Dark and mysterious, Nocturne is a portrait of a nighttime landscape.  The piece is highly chromatic, often settling in an octatonic tonality, and frequently makes use of a delicate counterpoint in which the various instruments weave their individual lines into a variegated tapestry.  Steady undulations from the bongo drums provide an unwavering heartbeat amid the eerie and decadent harmonies set forth by the ensemble.  A twisted melody by the clarinet is soon answered by a pained response by the violin.  Stark solos are interspersed among permutations of the main theme, which then quietly give way to the proclamations of the middle section.  Here, a new contrapuntal theme exhibits an unhurried descent, while the tonality is conversely pushed upward.  These contrary forces create an elevating tension throughout the section, which ultimately gives way to a quiet moment that is interrupted by a cuckoo, among the few birds to call at night.  The opening material returns, reordered and restructured, and the piece ends with the distant calls of a midnight cuckoo friend.

Duration: 7 min.

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