Kupala Night

Composer: Raum, Elizabeth
Instrumentation: Solo and Piano Instruments: Piano, Trumpet in C
Genre: Contemporary

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C Trumpet with Piano

Kupala Night is an ancient pagan fertility festival that takes place once a year on June 21. The music is meant to conjure the feeling of a the forest at night with young couples carrying out the ancient customs meant to induce fertility and love. Michael Fedyshyn, for whom the concerto was written, has Ukrainian background which inspired the subject of this concerto.

The first movement is the Dance of the Young Men, full of vigor, trying to attract the young women.

The second movement, Floating Wreaths, depicts the girls floating wreaths of candle-lit flowers on the river in hopes that the direction the wreaths take will foretell their future loves. The music opens with three currents from the river, each carrying a group of wreaths. The men try to capture the wreaths to impress the girls. The movement starts with three themes flowing into each other joined by the trumpet representing the young men. The triplet motif of the first movement is repeated in the second. The calm of the initial floating of the wreaths is interrupted by a group of young men showing off to the girls with their dancing.

The third movement is Searching for the Flowering Fern, which flowers only on Kupala Night has the young couples going through the forest seeking the elusive Flowering Fern, which, if they can find it, will bring them good fortune. The movement is mainly written in Lydian mode, with the raised fourth. Many ancient cultures felt the modes had an influence on the mood of the listener with the Lydian mode evoking youth and mystery. Close to the end, when the mist is again rising, themes from previous movements are heard in the muted trumpet, like spirits.

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