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Night Journey

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Daniel Basford

Daniel Basford

General Info

Year: 2009, rev. 2010
Duration: c. 39:00
Difficulty: VI+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Maecenas Music
Cost: Score and Parts - £149.50   |   Score Only - £27.50   |   Vocal Score Only - £14.95


Part One

1. Prelude: Night Is Come
2. Choral Recitative: Into The Darkness
3. Sleep
4. Solo Recitative: A Clear Midnight

Part Two

5. The Dream: Birds of Passage

Part Three

6. Intermezzo: Chimes
7. Solo: Break of Day
8. Hymn to Sunrise


Full Score
Piccolo; doubling Boomwhacker in Middle C (C4)
Flute I-II (two 1st Flutes doubling Boomwhackers in Ab3/Ab4; one 2nd Flute doubling Boomwhacker in G (use G4 tube + octave cap))
Oboe I-II-III (III doubles English Horn)
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (two 1sts doubling Boomwhackers in Bb4 & F4, one 2nd doubling Boomwhacker in Eb4 and one 3rd doubling Boomwhacker in Bb3)
B-flat Bass Clarinet (preferably doubled in fortissimo passages)
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (and/or Contra-alto Clarinet; an E flat part is supplied)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
Tubax in E flat or Contrabass Saxophone (Tubax preferred, but if Contrabass Saxophone is available instead it should definitely be used)
Tubax in B flat (Subcontrabass Saxophone) – if possible, this instrument should be used where available

(Tubax parts are optional)

Horn in F I-II-III-IV
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV-V-VI-VII (V-VII ad lib.)
Bass Trumpet in C (bass clef part, sounds as written)
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone

String Bass, doubling Bass Guitar (both appropriately amplified)
Harp (or keyboard – use the special part marked “Harp-Keyboard” instead)
Piano, doubling Celesta (or keyboard)

Baritone/Bass-Baritone Solo: a light, clear voice is desired.
Large Mixed Chorus (SATB, 80 singers minimum)

Organ (should be used, but some exposed passages are cued in the score and parts)

Timpani (4 drums), doubling Boomwhacker in C3
Percussion, 4 or 5 players, including:

  • Anvil
  • Bass Drum
  • Bell Plates (4 tuned: Bb4, F4, Eb4, C4)
  • Bell Tree
  • Bongos
  • Boomwhackers (2, sounding F2 with octave cap & F3)
  • Brake Drum (pref. mounted)
  • Cabasa
  • Cowbell (mounted)
  • Crotales (2-octaves C6-C8, with bow)
  • Cymbals (3 pairs clash, sizzle, 1 suspended, 2nd suspended cymbal ad lib.)
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gongs (2, tuned in Eb2 and Ab3)
  • Mark Tree
  • Ratchet
  • Sandpaper Blocks (medium paper)
  • Snare Drum
  • Tam-tam (medium - circa 28-32", and large - circa 32”-38”)
  • Tambourines (2)
  • Tenor Drum (should be lower in pitch than the Tom-toms)
  • Tom-toms (2, high/medium-high)
  • Triangles (2, large and medium, 9" and 6")
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone (with bow)
  • Whip
  • Woodblock/Jamblock
  • Xylophone
  • Xylorimba/Marimba (C3-C7)

Percussion 5 is an optional part (suspended cymbal, ratchet) that can be performed by the pianist or harpist at certain points in the work when either of those performers is resting.

For the identifying of octaves, C4 = middle C always.


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

A Cantata for Baritone, Chorus & Concert Band

Night Journey represents a passing of time from dusk until sunrise. The text comes from a variety of poets including Longfellow, Poe, Donne, Fletcher and Blake.
Rather than setting one substantial poem which has a structured plot to music (as in the cantatas of Elgar for example), the work consists of a much looser narrative made possible through the use of an eclectic collection of texts. The chorus functions as the main protagonist while a baritone solo is used for more intimate and gentler sections.

In writing this multi-movement work I decided to experiment with using different scoring for some movements. This not only makes for a more challenging compositional process (it is often beneficial to impose restrictions for an undertaking of this scale!) but also allows sections of the band to come to the fore in certain parts of the piece. Out of the eight movements, only two involve the full tutti.

The work is divided into three parts. Parts One and Two see the protagonist(s) enter the world of night, concluding in a dream. Part Three provides relief from these experiences as the ‘journey’ culminates in the appearance of the sun in the finale.


1. Prelude: Night Is Come

The main motifs, heard in various guises throughout the work, appear in this movement in quick succession. The most important one is the “night” motif in the woodwind, occurring in the first few bars. The second is a chord progression, while the third idea is a further short melodic fragment. The text that prefaces the Prelude is from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Light of Stars:
The night is come, but not too soon;
O fear not in a world like this,
And thou shalt know ere long,
Know how sublime a thing it is
To suffer and be strong.

2. Choral Recitative: Into The Darkness

The chorus’ brief first entry is accompanied by saxophones, brass, double reeds and low woodwind. The music is brooding and unsettled; the chorus is seemingly nervous about entering the unknown world of night but realises the moon and stars are there for company.

3. Sleep

Initially sounding like a lullaby, with a ‘rocking’ motif comprising of a dissonance followed by its resolution, this movement is more sinister than it appears to be. The chorus sings “come, Sleep,” but this is not a gentle night’s rest – the music builds to a forceful climax, with “Come, Sleep” now turning into an angry command. Suddenly the mood changes and the music eerily falls into a slumber.

4. Solo Recitative: A Clear Midnight

A short transitional movement for baritone solo, where the soul is said to be freer at night time, away from the strains of the working day. This leads without a break into movement five.


5. The Dream: Birds of Passage

I decided to completely reinterpret Longfellow’s poem Birds of Passage, and in doing so it became the central movement, in the form of a dream-scherzo. The music is fast and tense, the foundation being a simple three-note repetition. The dream evolves from the hazy visions described at the beginning of the poem, building to the second of the work’s climaxes before subsiding into a coda that includes the unique sound of Boomwhackers (pitched plastic tubes of various lengths) scattered around the band, resulting in an strange and stylised re-working of the movement’s opening material.


6. Intermezzo: Chimes

This instrumental movement is scored for piano, harp, celesta, organ and percussion, with low woodwind in the louder section. The saxophones take the place of the chorus, their lines being a non-vocal “setting” of an excerpt from another Longfellow poem:

Sweet chimes! that in the loneliness of night
Salute the passing hour, and in the dark
And silent chambers of the household mark
The movements of the myriad orbs of light!
…I almost hear them singing in their flight.

The music is ambient and organic, developing the repeated-note idea from movement 5, representing bells of various shapes and sizes heard in the early hours.

7. Solo: Break of Day

The penultimate movement is a rhapsodic, romantic interlude for baritone solo. With dawn about to approach he wishes a loved one not to wake, since he knows his love will have to leave him if she does. The music is gentle and expressive, sometimes using smaller chamber groupings within the band.

8. Hymn to Sunrise

Having survived the night, the finale is a bright fanfare to the coming of day and sunshine. A slower central section (the “Hymn” of the title) builds towards the main climax of the entire piece, when daylight has finally arrived. The brass then plays all of the melodic motifs heard in the first movement, and this leads the work to a triumphant finish.


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Greater New York Wind Symphony & Greater New York Wind Symphony Honors Chorus (Richard F. Regan, conductor; James Rensink, baritone) - 15 December 2012
  • Hertfordshire Wind Sinfonia & Hertfordshire County Youth Choir (Mark Eager, conductor; Timothy Hobman, baritone) - 19 August 2009

Works for Winds by This Composer


None discovered thus far.