Anahita - Concert Band

Catalog: W-415

Price: $325.00

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In the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol Building in Albany, New York, there are two murals that were completed in 1878 by the New England painter William Morris Hunt.  These works are enormous - each mural approaching 18 feet in length - and together were considered the crowning glory of the artist's career.

One of these murals, The Flight of Night, depicts the magnificent Zoroastrian goddess of the night, Anahita, driving her chariot westward, fleeing from the sun.

Hower, if you travel to Albany today, you won't see The Flight of Night; two years after Hunt completed the giant murals (and only one year after his death), the vaulted ceiling in the Assembly Chamber began to leak.  By 1882, The Flight of Night had already been damaged, and by 1888, the ceiling had to be condemned.  A "false" ceiling was erected, completely obscuring Hunt's murals, and today, all that remains visible of the mural are the lowest inches of the painting.  The bulk of the mural languishes above the false ceiling, succumbing to the time and the elements, deteriorating more with each passing day.

This piece of music, ANAHITA, is inspired by photographs of Hunt's masterpiece before it was destroyed, as well as by the Persian poem that inspired Hunt himself.  The first movement, "The Flight of Night", is characterized by dramatic, aggressive gestures that are meant to evoke the terrifying beauty of the goddess herself.  Movement two, "Night Mares", is a scherzo-like movement that refers tot he three monstrous horses that pull the chariot across the sky.  In the final movement, "Sleep and Repose/The Coming of Light", we hear the gentler side of the night, with a tender lullaby that ends with distant trumpets hearlding the dawn.

Below is the text of the Persian poem that inspired Hunt to paint The Flight of Night.

Enthroned upon her car of light, the moon
Is circling down the lofty heights o Heaven;
Her well-trained courses wedge the blindest depths
With fearful plunge, yet heed the steady hand
That guides their lonely way.  So swift her course,
So bright her smile, she seems on silver wings.
O'er-reaching space, to glide the airy main;
Behind, far-flowing, spreads her deep blue veil,
Inwrought with stars that shimmer in its wave.
Before the car, an owl, gloom sighted, flaps
His weary way; with melancholy hoot
Dispelling spectral shades that flee
With bat-like rush, affrighted, back
Within the blackest nooks of caverned Night.
Still Hours of darkness wend around the car,
By raven tresses half concealed; but one,
With fairer locks, seems lingering back for Day.
Yet all with even measured footsteps mark
Her onward course.  And floating in her train
Repose lies nestled on the breast of Sleep,
While soft Desires enclasp the waist of Dreams,
And light-winged Fancies flit around in troops.

Concert Band, Grade level 5 - score and parts included
Duration - 14:30

Murphy Music ยท Anahita-Roshanne Etezady

Publisher: Murphy Music
Composer/Author: Etezady, Roshanne
Catalog Number: W-415