I composed Witchhowl in (1987) for William Moersch and Jonathan Haas. Given the potentially riotous nature of the Marimba Timpani combination, I found myself drawn to the idea of the Witch’s Sabbath, and in particular to Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and the Walpurgisnacht section of Goethe’s Faust.
This piece is a response to those sources, and the comedy of the music comes from the energy of the two percussion instruments evoking the titantic forces of the symphony orchestra and the epic stage.
The wonderful sound of the German title, “Hexengeheule” redolent of mountain peaks, and dark, northern forests, guided the composition of the music throughout.
Premiere: 1987 Carnegie Recital Hall, William Moersch & Jonathan Haas