Mondaufgang am Meer 

op. 108, 2024
Duration: 7 min.

Commissioned by the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and the University and Hanseatic City of Greifswald on the occasion of the Caspar David Friedrich Jubilee 2024

Instrumentation: 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba, timpani, percussion (3)
World premiere on Friday 14 June 2024, 6 pm, Wismar, St-Georgen-Kirche

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra
Cristian Măcelaru: conductor


Composers Note

I got to know Casper David Friederich’s paintings when I was young in Greece: the colours, the directness, the depth and the overall mood of his paintings magnetized me at first glance. This feeling intensified when I later saw his original paintings for the first time in Berlin.

I am thrilled and very moved to be able to write a composition inspired by Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “Moonrise by the Sea” for the opening of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival on the 250th anniversary of his birth.

It has already been said about his paintings that they actually show landscapes of the soul: they have a depth, a magic and a power that seem much greater and more intense than the pure landscape impression.

In “Moonrise by the Sea”, two women and a man look at the moonrise – and we with them – what does each of them see, what “landscape of the soul” does it evoke? What does Caspar David Friedrich show us through this “bright darkness”, which promises to become a hopeful, even brighter light very soon? When the moon rises, I experience the cycle of nature, which influences us all and often captivates us emotionally. I see the sea as an information carrier, as a connecting bridge between cities, countries, continents and cultures.

These impressions and questions preoccupied me when composing Mondaufgang am Meer  and it was my wish to translate them into sound. The composition hovers between silence and strong volume, which mostly have a vocal character. The piece consists of seven short parts that are linked together to create a whole from different elements. The gentle atmospheric beginning is followed by a part that sounds almost religious, as in a ritual. A very short intermezzo with percussion prepares a two-part dance-like section that condenses the sound into chords. The epilogue, which initially increases in intensity, leaves the sound surprisingly open at the end. 

Can a moonrise on the water remind us humans of the natural connection between people, nature and cultures? I very much hope so with Mondaufgang am Meer.