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“EL ARCA DE NOÉ”
[THE NOAH’S ARK]
Symphonic Poem for Symphony Orchestra
(Transcription for Wind Band)
The Symphonic Poem is divided into ten clearly descriptive sections of biblical passages regarding Noah’s ark. These sections are:
- “ON THE MOUNTAIN”
– From measure 1 through measure 47
During these measures the music puts us on a distant mountain where Noah is (theme played by the english horn) receiving the tragic news of the great Flood that will ravage the whole Earth. After a few minutes of emotional music, the image brings us closer to a more detailed picture of God’s words to Noah in “The Word of God”.
- “THE WORD OF GOD”
– From measure 48 through measure 64
The lower section of the wind band embodies God speaking his last words to Noah with the background sound of celestial bells. After his last words we go on to observe the animals that inhabit the Earth through the eyes of Noah.
- “THE LAND OF THE BEASTS”
– From measure 65 through measure 79
After God’s profound words to Noah, we now see a land completely populated by a multitude of animals, among which the elephants can be heard, represented by the glissandos of the french horn section, under an incessant rhythm marked by the percussion that immerses us in extensive valleys which show us the animal kingdom.
- “NOAH’S FAMILY”
– From measure 80 through measure 92
Noah’s family, after receiving the tragic news of the great Flood observes with sorrow the vast plains that soon will disappear under the water, turning his gaze back to the beasts.
- “THE BIRDS”
– From measure 107 through measure 118
Over the next few minutes the music broadly describes the different families of the great animal kingdom that populate the Earth, beginning with the birds.
- “THE LIFE OF THE SEA”
– From measure 119 through measure 154
For these measures the music plunges us into the great ocean populated by dolphins, whales and other creatures that inhabit them describing the wonderful sea bottom, with the incessant play of the dolphins and other animals. After this section, the music fades until night covers the whole face of the Earth (in the distance the bells announce midnight). Once the animals are on the ark with Noah and his family, they just need to wait for the great Flood to come upon them.
- “THE ARK AT NIGHT TIME”
– From measure 155 through measure 203
The warm melody is provided by the horns and light interventions with a flute and piccolo mimicking the call of birds, now have us inside the ark. During the last hours sitting on the Earth, one hears the soft melody provided by the clarinet, later the bassoon and then finally the tenor saxophone solos that burst into a great fortissimo of the entire band, interrupted by small raindrops that announce “The Storm”.
- “THE STORM”
– From measure 204 through measure 258
For a few seconds you can hear the sound of frogs (guiro) and others, in the first drops of rain, and suddenly a flash of lightning (measure 210) announces the great disaster: the great Flood (measure 218).
– From measure 259 through measure 310
The image of the great Flood now puts us outside of the ark: a huge storm is completely destroying the Earth, the wrath of God has no boundaries and destroys everything in its path (in these seconds of music we hear the melody, which the work had previously offered in the horns and is now, with great fury, in the band’s basses).
Again we go back inside the ark (measure 263), listening to the general nervousness and especially the sound of the elephants, again played by the horn section.
At measure 277 back outside the ark, where, after a few measures of ostinato supported by the bells, lead to the big explosion (measure 288) and finally the end of the great Flood.
Calm comes and the ark disappears into the horizon ark through a solo for two clarinets that leads to an infinite pianissimo.
- “THE NEW EARTH”
– From measure 311 to end
After the great catastrophe, a new world opens before Noah‘s eyes. This gentle melody played by the horn and the call of the dove (portamento of the flute) in the distance, heralds the resurgence of new valleys and plains before the eyes of the future inhabitants of the Earth.
With a relentless march rhythm and gentle waves of the floodwaters on the Earth, the ark heads toward the new land, the revival of an unspoiled paradise is blessed by God (measure 363) and offered to Noah and his family.
…Then God said to Noah: “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you: the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground, so they can multiply on the Earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it”. Genesis Chap. 8 Verse 15.