Death Valley Symphony: Dark Sky for Chamber Choir, SATB Choir, Marimba Quartet, Percussion Ensemble, Piano

$12.00$200.00

Dark Sky, the final movement of the concert-length work Death Valley Symphony, explores the beauty of Death Valley National Park’s pristine dark skies.  For Chamber Choir, SATB Choir, Marimba Quartet, Percussion Ensemble, and Piano, this work sets the poem “The Stars Beyond the Stars” by Brandon Krieg. Duration approximately 21 minutes.

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Description

 

Death Valley Symphony: Dark Sky
For Chamber Choir, SATB Choir, Marimba Quartet, Percussion Ensemble, and Piano

Duration approximately 19:30

World Premiere of “Dark Sky” – April 8, 2024 at the Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research
Kutztown University, Pennsylvania

Audio from 2nd Premiere – April 9, 2024 in the Georgian Room at Kutztown University, Pennsylvania

Commissioned by Dr. Frank Kumor and the Kutztown University Percussion Ensemble, Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research, Dr. Lynn Vartan and the Southern Utah University Percussion Ensemble, and Heartland Marimba

 

Score and Score/Part Sets Available:
1. Conductor’s Score
2. Conductor’s Score and Instrumental Parts
3. SATB/Piano reduction score

Take a look at Dark Sky Conductor’s Score Pages 1-16

 

Read the Poem The Stars Beyond the Stars by Brandon Krieg


About Dark Sky

Dark Sky, the final movement of the concert-length work Death Valley Symphony, explores the beauty of Death Valley National Park’s pristine dark skies.  For Chamber Choir, SATB Choir, Marimba Quartet, Percussion Ensemble, and Piano, this work sets the poem “The Stars Beyond the Stars” by Brandon Krieg (Kutztown University Professor of English and Poetry) created expressly for this work.  

With some of the darkest night skies in the United States, Death Valley National Park is designated a “Dark Sky Park” by the DarkSky International organization. Death Valley has been given the “Gold Tier” designation meaning that “astronomical objects seen there are available only to some of the darkest locations across the globe.” Using the colors of the ensemble, this work will take the listener on a journey through the world’s hottest place on Earth illuminated by the light of stars to see the park’s many animals, badlands, sand dunes, multi-hued hills and volcanic craters illuminated by the light of the night sky, and to gaze into the vastness of the universe. 

Dark Sky is a collaboration between Heartland Marimba Quartet, Kutztown University Percussion Ensemble, Kutztown University Choirs, with immersive video created for the performances by KU professor Dale Parson (Available for all performances – see video below). Premieres during the 2023-2024 season include two performances at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania to celebrate the inaugural year of the Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research at Kutztown University. Additional movements of this work are commissioned and premiered by Heartland Marimba Quartet and Duo Lin-Lynn. As of May 2024 these movements include “Badwater Basin” for Marimba Quartet and “Clay Pipes and Spiral Shells” for Marimba duo and narrator. 

Dark Sky was premiered on April 8 & 9, 2024 at Kutztown University. Coincidentally, the Total Solar Eclipse took place on April 8, turning the skies dark across the United States just hours before the World Premiere of Dark Sky!

 

 

 

Instrumentation

Chamber Choir and SATB Choir (Chamber Choir sings separately from SATB Choir at the beginning of work then joins the larger SATB Choir for the rest of the work)

Piano

Marimba 1
Crotales or Staff Bells* (with 2 bows)
4 Sound Plates (G, plus any three additional pitches)

Marimba 2
Anvil/Brake Drum

Marimba 3
Anvil/Brake Drum

Marimba 4
Anvil/Brake Drum

Percussion 1
Glockenspiel
Suspended Cymbal

Percussion 2
Glockenspiel or Tubaphone*
Congas
Crash Cymbals
Piccolo Woodblocks
Bass Drum

Percussion 3
Suspended Cymbal
Taiko
Triangle
Glockenspiel or Tubaphone*

Percussion 4
Crotales (with 2 bows)
Chimes
Temple Blocks
Thunder Sheet

Percussion 5
Xylophone
Tam-tam
Anvil/Brake Drum
Suspended Cymbal
Tambourine

Percussion 6
Vibraphone (with 2 bows)
Thunder Sheet

Percussion 7
Vibraphone or Steel Marimbaphone* (with 2 bows)
Timpani
Suspended Cymbal
Crash Cymbals
Piccolo Woodblocks
Temple Blocks

 

Performance Notes

Performance Notes – Video

There is a video available to show during performances of Dark Sky. This video, created by Dale Parson for the premieres at Kutztown University in April 2024 is a non-synced video, meaning that it can be started freely and is longer than the actual work so that it will continue to play after the work is finished, creating an atmosphere of the beauty and mystery of the desert and the night sky. (see video below)

Performance Notes – Choir

Chamber Choir Placement suggestion at the beginning of the work through letter C: The Chamber Choir may sing from either behind the audience or surrounding the audience (if space permits). This is to give the sense of the vastness of the desert and the dark sky. There is time in the music for the Chamber Choir to move on stage and sing with the rest of the SATB choir at letter D.

Letters GG-MM – As the choir sings freely and overlaps on the word “lightning”, an option is to have the Chamber choir slowly walk to where they were at the beginning of the piece. This will give the sense of lightning moving across the desert and across the sky, eventually fading away as a solo Chamber Choir Soprano sings freely at LL.

Performance Notes – Percussion

Instruments marked with an asterik* indicate a choice of instrument. The premiere performances took place at the Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research and certain unique instruments were available through the Center for this premiere. Traditional instruments are acceptable and may used where special instruments are not available.

Bows – it is suggested to use two bows for the overlapping effect of stars shooting across the sky.

Anvil/Brake Drum – could also use a metal pipe and strike with a metal beater. Something metallic and loud.

Thunder Sheets -high and low – a mix of ranges and colors

Bass Drum – as low as possible (30 inch suggested)

Documentary on the creation of “Dark Sky”

 

Optional Video to be played during performance of “Dark Sky” by Dale Parson, created for the premiere at Kutztown University.
Contact Jenni for a copy of this video to use with your performance

 

Photos from Dark Sky Rehearsals and Premieres at Kutztown University

 

Additional information

Type of Product

Conductor's Score only, Conductor's Score and Instrumental Parts, SATB Choir/Piano Score Hard Copy, SATB Choir/Piano Score PDF