The Dark gestated in 2005 as one of several now lost and
indefinitely abandoned projects following a massive data loss; the
rebooted project began in late 2007 to be finished February 2008. The
short tone poem draws on the music of Mahler, particularly his first and
seventh symphonies, and of Debussy.
A bassoon begins the piece, intoning the opening motive of the melody;
it is joined by the other bass instruments of the orchestra as the line
unfolds. In the second section, a solo violoncello carries the primary
melodic material, colorfully accompanied by pizzicato and staccato
strings and woodwinds. The final section explores the canonic
possibilities of the source tune as various parts of the orchestra
laminate the texture leading to the climax with chromatically altered
harmonies, resolving to the sudden and subdued coda-like conclusion; the
final, hushed utteration of the motive comes from the lowest register of
the solo cello.
Scored for two flutes, alto flute, three oboes, two clarinets, bass
clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, three horns, three trombones,
tuba, timpani, bass drum, tam-tam, celesta, two harps, organ, and
strings with solo violoncello.