Day Boy: Photogen Sees the Moon - an Overture for Sun and Moon
Through Sun & Moon, there are many themes of light and dark. The most clearly defined image is inspired by a short story by George MacDonald, Day Boy and Night Girl: the Love Story of Photogen and Nycteris. I have drawn own my own interpretation of this story and woven it into my album, using the perspective of the two characters to embody the two discs of my album.
In the story, a witch steals away two children. The boy, Photogen, she raises entirely in light, never letting him see the night, nor even letting a shadow fall on him. The girl, Nycteris, she raises in darkness. Neither child knows of the existence of the other half of life.
On the “Sun” disc of my album, I have written a song exploring the perspective of Nycteris. In this piece, I explore the experience of the boy.
Photogen overhears a hunter speak of night, and in his brash overestimation of his own bravery, decides that he can overcome night just as he overcomes the animals he hunts in the day. He slips out of the castle into the woods, and hides until the sun begins to set.
As the orchestral piece begins, we find Photogen standing alone in the woods. He is afraid for the first time in his life, his courage having drained away as the last light faded. We hear a quiet but slightly unsettling theme begin to play in the flute and piano. Photogen, represented throughout this piece by the french horn, joins the theme. He begins to see the eyes of animals glowing in the dark, mirrored by the eyes of the stars in the sky and is suddenly terrified. He flees through the woods, believing the darkness, the wind, and the stars to be chasing him like hungry animals.
As he flees, he sees the moon rising, ghostly and pale. He believes that the sun has died, and this is its ghost, a witch come to take him. We hear this eerie theme rise in the oboe, as Photogen runs towards the castle. He reaches the castle gardens and finally collapses in fear.
Represented by the harp, Nycteris enters the garden, a beautiful and mysterious girl, wandering in the moonlight. She finds Photogen and takes him into her arms to comfort him. She begins to tell him of all that is beautiful about the night, about the gentle beauty of the moon. As they speak of the mysteries of their lives, they begin to fall in love with each other.
Nycteris looks into his eyes and sees that they are black, unable to see in the dark. “Darkness can’t see, of course. I will be your eyes, and teach you to see.” She begins to show him how to see the beauty around him, showing him the beauty in what he had thought to be fearful. We begin to hear themes from the beginning of the piece reinterpreted by Nycteris, being made beautiful.
As Nycteris tells Photogen of the night, he tells her of the sun. He gets swept up in the passion of the telling, and we hear the orchestra take up the dancing and frantic theme of the sun. He again becomes fearful of the night as he remembers the day, and again Nycteris brings him through the opening theme of night, leading him to its beauty. As this theme climbs, its opens into a final reinterpretation of the darkness. The very darkness that chased Photogen in the beginning of the night is now a beautiful song of love, wrapping around the characters as they vow to love both dark and light for the sake of each other. Photogen falls asleep in the arms of Nycteris as the sun begins to rise. The beautiful twilight surrounds them, the colors of dark and light joined.
This work is a signature part of Sun & Moon. I have drawn themes from songs on “Sun” and from compositions on “Moon” and blended them together in this piece, creating a sort of overture that introduces, explores, and unifies these themes.
This track was recorded live at the premiere of the piece at the Cathedral of Incarnation in Nashville TN, with the Trevecca Symphony and the Trevecca Madrigalian Choir, under the direction of Dr Timothy Cierpke.
Nashville based harpist/songwriter Timbre has been enchanting audiences across the world with her unique harp-based folk
rock. Though featured playing harp with bands/artists such as Jack White, Ricky Skaggs, mewithoutYou, and the Chariot, her solo music is even more breathtaking. Her ensemble of musicians bring complete stillness to crowded bars and festivals, silencing audiences of thousands....more
This is the band that backed me for two years, recording most of Little Flowers with me. This music is simply beautiful, but incredibly intricate and intense. They are one of my favourite bands. Timbre