When night came

Clarinet and piano

When night came is a tribute to the strength of the women of Bosnia – a remembrance of their struggles during the wars of the 1990’s in the former Yugoslavia. This dramatic and virtuosic work incorporates musical themes from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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Program Note

When night came was composed in 1994 as a personal response to the horrors of the war in the former Yugoslavia, in particular to the atrocities committed against the women of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This piece is dedicated to those women – to those who have been brutally murdered, and to the survivors. It is in some part a lament, but it is also a tribute to the strength and resiliency of the women of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

There are two Bosnian folksong quotations in When night came. The first, “Odkad seke nismo zapjevale,” is based on a short series of repeated notes, with harmonies consisting of major and minor seconds. It is a ganga, an intense and vibrant form of vocal music sung in the mountainous regions of Herzegovina. The second song, “Kad ja podjoh na Benbasu,” is a lyrical love song – one of the most well-known and beloved songs in the area around Sarajevo.

When night came exists in versions for clarinet and piano, clarinet and chamber ensemble, and clarinet and orchestra. It has received performances in London, New York City, Bangkok, Peru, and throughout the United States. Commissioned by clarinetist Laura DeLuca, it was also supported by a Seattle Arts Commission Artist Award, and a grant from Artist Trust. When night came won the 2003 Theodore Front Prize from the International Alliance for Women in Music.

Odkad seke nismo zapjevale
How long we sisters haven’t sung.
Now we’ll do it, because we’ve come together.
Let’s sing, sisters and cousins.
One tribe, one family.
Kad ja podjoh na Bembasu
When I went to Bembasa, to Bembasa by the riverside,
I led a white lamb, a white lamb with me.
All the Bembasa girls were standing at their courtyard gates;
my beloved was alone at her latticed window.
I said to her, “Good evening, girl!”
She replied, “Come see me this evening my darling!”
I didn’t go that evening, but went the next day;
The next day my beloved married another!

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