Full Moon in the City

Score title

Full Moon in the City


Libby Larsen

More about the composer




Program note

I’m proud to say that George Sakakeeny is my friend! I am in awe of his talent and I am humbled by his generosity as a teacher. We also have a good deal of fun together and that is how our new work, Full Moon in the City came to be—through our friendship, deep and not so deep conversations and general devotion to music as a way of life.

Full Moon in the City, a stroll for bassoon and strings, imagines a bassoon, after hours, out on a walk in the club district of an unnamed city. A triptych, the movements are titled "…at 3am," "Juking the Moon," and "…5am." The sound of the music borders on jazz but is not jazz—rather it is a noire portrait of echoes of late night music, the kind of music that evokes party fatigue and staying up all night.It’s a genre of American music which I like to call Tony Franciosa (actor) music.

"…at 3am," the first movement, and "…5am," the third movement, are lyrical and use the technique of meander to move somewhere but stay in the same place—on the same block of the same street, if you will. "Juking* the Moon," the inner movement, muses on the idea of the bassoon around 4am, strolling along the street, detecting fragments of songs about the moon as juke boxes and bar musicians play out into the night. I referenced fragments from nine songs about the moon, abstracted them and created a Red Grooms (artist) inspired tone poem.

*Juke. n.
1. A cheap nightclub or bar (ie. juke joint).
2. A style of jazz music performed in bars and brothels.
3. A coin-operated machine that plays records.
(Verb): to tour juke joints, usually with a date; to drive one cheap bar to the next for the entire night.

References include:
“Moondance”– Van Morrison
“Astronomy Domine”– Pink Floyd
“Space Oddity” – David Bowie
“Fly Me to the Moon”– Bart Howard
“Walking on the Moon”– The Police
“Moon River”– Henry Mancini
“Bike Ride to the Moon”– Dukes of Stratosphere
“Howling at the Moon”– The Ramones
“By the Light of the Silvery Moon”– Hawley Ades

— Libby Larsen