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This Cruel Moon

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John Mackey

John Mackey

Subtitle: Adapted from Immortal Thread So Weak, from Wine-Dark Sea: Symphony for Band

General Info

Year: 2014 / 2017
Duration: c. 6:30
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Osti Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $150.00   |   Score Only (print) - $25.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum (large)
  • Marimba I-II
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This is an adaptation of Immortal thread, so weak, the middle movement of Wine-Dark Sea. John Mackey had received requests from band directors wanting to perform the middle movement of the symphony separately and without harp. The piece is appropriate for advanced middle school and developing high school ensembles, but also offers artistic value to more advanced performers.

- Program Note from Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 12

This movement 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 from publisher


State Ratings

  • Texas: IV. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Vista Murrieta (Calif.) High School Wind Ensemble II (Edmundson, conductor) - 16 May 2023
  • Arizona State University (Tempe) University Wind Symphony (Jamal Duncan, conductor) - 25 April 2023
  • Cuesta Wind Ensemble (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 18 March 2023
  • West Valley High School (Yakima, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Kirk Knight, conductor) - 8 March 2023
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Symphonic Band (Lauren Visel, conductor) -- 28 February 2023
  • University of Central Florida (Orlando) University Band (R. Scott Mullen, conductor) - 19 February 2023
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Concert Band (Devin Dedon, conductor) - 16 February 2023
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Honor Symphonic Band (Jake Wallace, conductor) - 22 January 2023
  • Cleveland State University (Ohio) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Gary Hill, conductor) – 20 November 2022
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) - 16 June 2022
  • Bemidji (Minn.) State University Symphonic Band (Ryan Webber, conductor) - 19 April 2022
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Wind Ensemble (T.j. Anderson, conductor) - 3 October 2021
  • University of Missouri (Columbia) Wind Ensemble (Joshua R. Boyer, conductor) - 17 March 2021
  • Mukwonago (Wisc.) High School Wind Ensemble (Emma Angoli, conductor) – 15 March 2021
  • University of Findlay (Ohio) Wind Ensemble (Wes King, conductor) - 7 March 2021
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee) Concert Band (Victoria Russo, conductor) - 16 November 2020
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Band (Cliff Croomes, conductor) – 10 March 2020
  • Ocean Springs (Miss.) High School Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) - 4 March 2020 (86th Annual ABA National Convention)
  • Dallas (Tex.) Winds (Jerry Junkin, conductor) – 11 April 2017 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works