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First Light

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    09:00 min

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The title First Light refers to the arrival of dawn – the transformation of darkness into light. In particular, it is shaped by my experience of dawn in the mountains surrounding Lake Garda, in northern Italy.

There, the light of the sun arrives in distinct stages: the night sky begins to brighten quite early, around 4:30 or 5am, though the sun remains hidden behind the mountains for several hours. Around 8 o’clock, the first direct ray of sunlight abruptly crests the mountaintop, bringing with it intense, palpable heat, which rapidly gains strength as the sun fully emerges. Somewhat paradoxically, the town below, nestled in the narrow space between the water’s edge and the steep mountain slope, remains in darkness for awhile longer, until the sun ultimately reaches a high enough angle to send light cascading down the mountainside, illuminating everything.

Commissioned by: New York York State School Association

Dedicated to: Ray Cramer


2 December 2007, by the New York All-State Symphonic Band, Ray Cramer, conductor

Technical Info

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Flute 1-4
Oboe 1-2
Bassoon 1-2
Contrabassoon (optional)
Bb Clarinet in Bb 1-6
Bb Bass Clarinet 1-2
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1-2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

Bb Trumpet 1-6
Horn in F 1-4
Trombone 1-4
Euphonium 1-2
Tuba 1-2

Perc. 1: Crotales
Perc. 2: Marimba
Perc. 3: Glockenspiel
Perc. 4: Vibraphone
Perc. 5: Suspended Cymbal, Crash Cymbal, Bass Drum