1. Lejl bla tmiem / Endless night
  2. Il-Port il-Kbir bil-Lejl / The Grand Harbour at Night
  3. Katakombi / Catacombs
  4. Titjira bil-Lejl / Night Flight
  5. Qamar Kwinta / Full Moon
  6. Festa / Feast

Notturni / Nocturnes (2013) is a set of six piano pieces that reimagines the Nocturne as a musical form. The form, originally popularised by John Field and later by Chopin, is considered one of the principle forms of Romantic piano music. The genre developed into a lyrical piece that emphasised melody over a gentle accompaniment, often mixed with an element of melancholy. These six Nocturnes look at the idea of ‘night time’ from different perspectives.

NotturniLejl Bla Tmiem / Endless Night looks at the idea of ‘night time’ from a metaphorical point of view – night time as a metaphor for inner emotional, mental and/or spiritual darkness. The second Nocturne (Il-Port il-Kbir bil-Lejl / The Grand Harbour at Nightwas inspired by a night-time boat crossing of the Grand Harbour, Malta, surrounded as it is by the majestic fortifications of Valletta and the Three Cities. This is followed by Katakombi / Catacombs – underground burial chambers where it is always ‘night’, both physically (since it is underground) and figuratively (nighttime as a metaphor for death).

Titjira bil-Lejl / Night Flight looks at nighttime ‘from above’, nspired by a nighttime landing experience from a commercial airliner cockpit. A more traditional approach to nighttime is explored in Qamar Kwinta / Full Moon with the moon cycle at the centre of the nocturne. The set is rounded off by Festa / Feast, a piece that breaks the mood of all the previous pieces. Instead of stillness and calm, the final nocturne is dedicated to the Maltese village festa with its fireworks and wind bands and revelry going well into the night. This nocturne also quotes several marching band tunes from the St Cajetan feast of Ħamrun, the composer’s home town.

These Nocturnes have all been premiered individually by various pianists including Tricia Dawn Williams and Giséle Degiorgio. You can listen to three of them being performed by Tricia Dawn Williams here.

Image source: Jurgen Rekkers – WikiCommons

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