tone poem for wind ensemble
- Premiere: 19 November 1997 / Baylor University Concert Hall, Waco, Texas / The Baylor Wind Ensemble / Michael Haithcock
- Instrumentation: 3(I,II,III=picc).2(II=corA).4(I=Ebcl,II=bcl, III=bcl,IV=bcl).2.ssax.asax.tsax.bsax-184.108.40.206-perc(3)-timp-db
- Duration: 10.5'
The composer writes, "I have been, for as far back as I can remember, an insomniac. The intense, introspective solitude of the smallest hours (say, between two and five) can be terrifying. Certain of life's conundrums bear down with an inescapable force then. Night, Again is a musical portrait of the dead of night."
The first musical ideas for Night, Again were sketched in 1990, when Hagen began working on his opera Shining Brow. In 1994, Hagen clarified the ideas and offered them in the form of a work for solo piano. These ideas were then fleshed out in an orchestral work entitled Built Up Dark (1995). When, in March of 1997, conductor Michael Haithcock asked whether the composer had any music for wind ensemble. he responded by reorchestrating (and again rethinking) the ideas that would grow into Hagen's large-scale opera with wind ensemble in the pit Bandanna over the next few years.
The work is derived from four musical ideas: (1.) a melodic wedge — a grouping of pitches which lead either inwards or outwards from a central tone; (2.) a tone cluster — the simultaneous sounding of a handful of adjacent pitches (the vertical expression of a melodic wedge); (3.) a harmonic constellation of four triads — in this case, B flat major, E major, G major and D flat major which, when paired, are associated with one another by (4.) the interval of the tritone.
...An unnervingly vivid representation of the unsettling impressions of a lifetime insomniac in the small hours of the night. . The composer has a wonderful sense of instrumental color, and an accessible harmonic language.
— Records International Reviews, February, 1999
Night, Again is a treat for lovers of brass and especially for those who enjoy intriguing, idiomatic music written for contemporary brass ensembles. [The work] is Hagen's musical portrait of what he refers to as the 'intense, introspective solitude of the smallest hours.' This is a mercurial and exciting piece that is punctuated by percussive outbursts on timpani and wood block.'
— Tower Records Online, 1999
Daron Hagen's wind music should encourage those who would like to see wind music take a central position in art music in America. For a number of years band directors across the country have been working to have their medium taken as seriously as the orchestra or the string quartet. It seems to me that the key lies in repertoire. The wind band (or wind ensemble) repertoire is dominated by marches and orchestral transcriptions, though that is changing. What is not changing, for the most part, is the sound of band music, which tends to be dominated by doubled high-woodwind melody with brass and percussion accents, with limited textural or dynamic range. Hagen's music (as heard on this disc, at least) is an exception, the musical argument passing between instruments and frequent and expressive changes in dynamics and texture. Of particular interest are Night, Again, with its darkness and flashes of light....'
— Stephen Hicken, American Record Guide, March, 2000
...big and shiny ... Hagen's style seems to be rooted in jazz and the American neo-Romantic: highly crafted, instrumentally colorful, basically tonal, and very listenable.'
— Robert Kirzinger, Fanfare Magazine, September / October 1999