compositions | percussion ensemble | song to the moon (2005)

song to the moon by antonín dvorák (2005)

Medium: Percussion Ensemble (9)
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Arranged: 2005
Duration: 7:00
Difficulty: Grade 4+

Look Inside Score

Vibraphone 1 (4-octave)
Vibraphone 2 (4-octave)
Marimba 1 (4-octave)
Marimba 2 (4-octave)
Marimba 3 (4.3 or 4.5-octave)
Marimba 4 (5-octave)

*You may add a soprano soloist to your performance, but they will need to provide their own music. The arrangement works both with and without voice.

Without Soprano Soloist

Concordia College Percussion Ensemble
Dr. David Eyler, director
With Soprano Soloist

University of Oklahoma Percussion Orchestra
Shannon Kaye, soprano soloist | Dr. Lance Drege, director

Song to the Moon is an aria from Antonín Dvorák’s opera “Rusalka,” which combines elements from three fairy tales, Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid, Friedrich de la Motte Fouque's Undine, and Gerhart Hautpmann's The Sunken Bell. At this moment in the opera, the good-natured old Spirit of the Lake, Jezibab, is enjoying the singing of the Wood Nymphs, when his daughter, Rusalka, approaches him sadly. She tells him that she has fallen in love with a handsome young prince and wishes to become human in order to know the bliss of union with him. Deeply saddened, the Spirit of the Lake consents to her request, and leaves. All alone, Rusalka sings this beautiful aria, confiding in the moon the secrets of her longing.

Silver moon upon the deep dark sky,
Through the vast night pierce your rays.
This sleeping world you wander by,
Smiling on men's homes and ways.
Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me,
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?
Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?
Tell him, oh tell him, my silver moon,
Mine are the arms that shall hold him,
That between waking and sleeping he may
Think of the love that enfolds him,
May between waking and sleeping
Think of the love that enfolds him.
Light his path far away, light his path,
Tell him, oh tell him who does for him stay!
Human soul, should it dream of me,
Let my memory wakened be.
Moon, moon, oh do not wane, do not wane,
Moon, oh moon, do not wane....

about the 2nd edition

In the spring of 2009, John Parks, Professor of Percussion at Florida State University, contacted me telling me that the FSU Percussion Ensemble had performed my arrangement of Song to the Moon and that they had added a soprano soloist to the mix and it worked beautifully. He also informed me they would be recording the piece with soprano for their forthcoming CD release and asked if I might add some of the introductory material from the original opera scoring, featuring lush low strings and a brief harp cadenza. The FSU Percussion Ensemble CD, titled Volume One, features Song to the Moon with soprano soloist Marcía Porter in addition to works by David Skidmore, John Cage, Blake Tyson, Astor Piazzolla, and more. Here are the improvements that you will find in the new edition:

  • Return to the original key of G-flat major. Because I had not originally intended for the arrangement to be performed with soprano, I put the piece in G major, transforming it from 6 flats to 1 sharp. By putting it in its original key, there is now the possibility of adding a soprano soloist with this aria in her repertoire.
  • A new 27-bar introduction sets up the aria beautifully.
  • A modified softer ending to better match the original aria.
  • Phrase markings have been added to every part to clarify melodic intentions.
  • Rolls markings in the marimba parts have been clarified throughout.