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Night on Culbin Sands, A

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Alexander Comitas

Alexander Comitas


Subtitle: For large wind orchestra

This work bears the designation Opus 38, No. 1.


General Info

Year: 1999 / 2001
Duration: c. 11:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hafabra Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €225.00   |   Score Only (print) - €51.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute III
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I
Bassoon II/Contrabassoon
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
E-flat Trumpet
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II-III-IV
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Harp
Celesta
MIDI Keyboard
Timpani
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tom-Tom, high and low
  • Vibraphone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

The barony Culbin was once the most fertile part of its region, Western Moray in Northern Scotland. But it all changed from one day to the next. During an autumn night in 1686, just before the harvest was to be collected, a heavy storm broke out, a tempest, carrying enormous amounts of sand, which all came down on the barony. All at once the harvest was completely ruined.

But this proved to be only the beginning. Many similar sand storms followed, and as a result the whole region, including all houses, farms and the barony's mansion, became completely buried under the sand within a few years time.

In 1931 the Scottish playwright Gordon Bottomley wrote a one act play entitled Culbin Sands. In this play he introduced four witches, descendants of the witches

...who prophesied King Duncan's death;

Indeed: descendants of the witches appearing in Shakespeare's Macbeth (which is enacted in more or less the same region). In Bottomley's play the sand storms appear to have been evoked by witchcraft

Because Kinnaird (then baron of Culbin) had driven us off his land --

Calling us witches.

The combination of the historical facts and Bottomley's one act play gave me an idea for a piece of music for large wind orchestra. A rather simple idea, by the way: the listener witnesses a night on Culbin Sands, a place that is obviously bewitched. At first everything is quiet, even though one can feel a certain tension. But then a storm breaks loose. This storm reaches a climax and then dies down. At the end of the piece everything is 'quiet' again...

- Program Note by composer


Commissioned by the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy. Dedicated to Maurice Hamers and the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy

- Program Note from score


Media


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project


Works for Winds by This Composer


Resources

  • Alexander Comitas website Accessed 6 September 2017
  • Burch-Pesses, Michael. "A Night on Culbin Sands." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 9, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 851-862. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2013.
  • Perusal score