Valley of the Moon for orchestra | Michael Daugherty, composer

Valley of the Moon
for orchestra (2022)

  1.  Out of the Fog
  2.  Shadow of the Birds
  3.  Air on the Redwoods
  4.  Call of the Wild

World Premiere:
Commissioned by the Santa Rosa Symphony — World premiere with the Santa Rosa Symphony, conducted by Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong at Weill Hall at the Green Music Center in Rohnert Park, California on May 7, 2022.


Santa Rosa Symphony
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor
Weill Hall at the Green Music Center, Santa Rosa, CA

Publisher: Michael Daugherty Music

Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn, 2 Bb Clarinets, Bb Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 F Horns (stopped mute), 3 C Trumpets (straight metal mute, harmon mute, stem out), 3 Trombones (3 Bass Trombones) (straight metal mute, harmon mute, stem out), Tuba, Timpani, Percussion 1 (Glockenspiel, Chimes, Piccolo Snare Drum, Xylophone, Large Crash Cymbals, Large Gong), Percussion 2 (Vibraphone, Marimba, Suspended Cymbal, Chimes, shared with Percussion 1), Large Crash Cymbals, Small Anvil (shared with Percussion 3), Large Woodblock, Large Gong, Percussion 3 [3 Triangles (large, medium, small), Suspended Cymbal, Xylophone (shared with Percussion 1)], Crotale (E), Concert Bass Drum, Marimba (shared with Percussion 2), Small Anvil, Harp, Strings

Duration: ca. 30 minutes

Composer Michael Daugherty and Francesco Lecce-Chong, Music Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony, in Santa Rosa, CA, May 2021

Full score and audio (for best results, view in HD 1080p):

Program Note:

Valley of the Moon for orchestra was commissioned and premiered in May 2022 by the Santa Rosa Symphony, Francesco Lecce-Chong, Music Director and Conductor. When visiting Santa Rosa in 2021, I spent several days driving the backroads of Sonoma County to experience the majestic redwood forests, the glorious coast of the Pacific Ocean, the Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, and the coastal village of Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds” (1963). This road trip became the inspiration for Valley of the Moon, a 30-minute musical composition in four movements. In movements one and three, I create a lush and complex symphonic soundscape, exploring how music can enhance our appreciation of the natural world: “Out of the Fog” is inspired by watching the fog slowly roll off the Pacific Ocean, as it brings much needed moisture to valleys of agricultural fields and lush forests. “Air on the Redwoods” is a bittersweet ballad to the giant redwood trees, nearly logged into extinction in the 20th century. These ancient trees are hundreds, even thousands, of years older than Bach’s “Air on the G String” (1731), which occasionally whispers through the branches of this movement. In movements two and four, I create foreboding music warning us of the growing fragility of an endangered ecosystem: “Shadow of the Birds” is a chilling musical homage to Hitchcock’s film “The Birds,” where nature has gone amok as thousands of birds descend to Bodega Bay and relentlessly attack the residents. “Call of the Wild” borrows a phrase from American author Jack London (1876-1916), who lived and farmed in Sonoma Valley. He was an early advocate for sustainable living to preserve the natural world. Perhaps, if we listen to the “call,” there is still hope.

– Michael Daugherty (2022)

 1.  Out of the Fog

2.  Shadow of the Birds

3. Air on the Redwoods

4. Call of the Wild