This Cruel Moon (flex)

From Wind Repertory Project
John Mackey

John Mackey (arr. Patrick Dunnigan)

Subtitle: Adapted from Immortal thread, so weak, from Wine-Dark Sea: Symphony for Band. Five-Part Adaptable Ensemble

General Info

Year: 2017 / 2020
Duration: c. 6:00-7:30
Difficulty: III-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Osti Music
Cost: Score and Parts (digital) - $90.00

Instrumentation (Flexible)

Full Score
Part 1

  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet
  • B-flat Trumpet

Part 2

  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone
  • B-flat Trumpet

Part 3

  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone
  • B-flat Trumpet
  • F Horn

Part 4

  • Bassoon
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone
  • Horn in F
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium

Part 5

  • Bassoon
  • B-flat Bass Clarinet
  • E-flat Baritone Saxophone
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba

Percussion (optional)

  • Timpani
  • Bass Drum
  • Marimba I-II
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This piece is an adaptation of the middle movement of Wine-Dark Sea: Symphony for Band. The full symphony tells the tale of Odysseus and his journey home following his victory in the Trojan War. But Odysseus' journey would take as long as the war itself. Homer called the ocean on which Odysseus sailed a wine-dark sea, and for the Greek king it was as murky and disorienting as its name; he would not find his way across it without first losing himself.

This Cruel Moon is the song of the beautiful and immortal nymph Kalypso, who finds Odysseus near death, washed up on the shore of the island where she lives all alone. She nurses him back to health, and sings as she moves back and forth with a golden shuttle at her loom. Odysseus shares her bed; seven years pass. The tapestry she began when she nursed him becomes a record of their love.

But one day Odysseus remembers his home. He tells Kalypso he wants to leave her, to return to his wife and son. He scoffs at all she has given him. Kalypso is heartbroken. And yet, that night, Kalypso again paces at her loom. She unravels her tapestry and weaves it into a sail for Odysseus. In the morning, she shows Odysseus a raft, equipped with the sail she has made and stocked with bread and wine, and calls up a gentle and steady wind to carry him home. Shattered, she watches him go; he does not look back.

- Program Note by composer

Performance Notes

This version is playable with as few as five players, one per part. When assigning parts, strive to achieve a balance across the ensemble for proper musical effect.

The percussion parts are optional in this version. If percussionists are available, the order of preference for part assignments would be Marimba I, Vibraphone, Marimba II, Timpani, then Bass Drum. Switching between percussion parts is also possible.

Across the parts, there are measures where some notes are doubled in octaves. When one note is smaller than the other (cued size), the regular-size note is the preferred note. Use the cued note if the player is unable to play the regular-size note. When both notes are the same size, the choice of which note to play is up to the conductor. In most cases, the choice will be obvious as some extremely high or low notes may be out-of-range for younger players.

The designations 'solo' and 'tutti' apply across the parts, not the staves. Thus in Part I, one player covers the solo for all assigned to Part I, and so forth. Of course, this may be adjusted for proper balance at the discretion of the conductor.

- Performance Note by arranger


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Symphony Band (Tim Pardue, conductor) - 3 May 2021
  • High Point (N.C.) University Wind Ensemble (Brian Meixner, conductor) - 27 April 2021
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Wind Symphony (Caroline Hand, conductor) - 20 April 2021
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Livingston Band (Anthony C. Marinello, conductor) - 21 April 2021
  • University of Nebraska Kearney Wind Ensemble (Duane Bierman, conductor) - 8 April 2021
  • University of Wyoming (Laramie) Symphonic Band (Joseph Carver, conductor) - 22 March 2021

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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