Celebrating 40 years! 1983-2023

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Ghost Light - BSN/PN

Composer: Klompenberg, Martin Van

Publisher: Klompenberg, Martin Van

Edition: 71274


Ghost Light
for bassoon and piano
by Martin J. Van Klompenberg - American bassoonist and composer


Ghost Light was inspired by an April 2020 article in the New York Times, entitled
“The Ghost Light, A Howl for the Lost City of Broadway.”1 Despite plenty of
experience performing in musicals, I had never before heard of the concept of the
ghost light, a single bulb placed on the stage by the last person in the theater to
keep the stage lit with just enough light to allow for safe movement throughout the
theater the following day. Outside of union strikes, there have only been three
multi-day closures of the entirety of Broadway, and each of the movements of the
piece, reflect these times.
Dimmed Marquees refers to the air raid drills used during World War II, to ensure
that in the case of attack, the marquees of Broadway could be turned off. The
shows went on throughout the war, but throughout these exercises occurred.
Musically, this movement is a loose nocturne, with melodic elements based around
musical motifs of shows of the 1940s, including Annie, Get Your Gun and
Track 11 refers to the song “When September Ends,” from the Green Day album,
American Idiot. This album led to one of the first musicals based around the events
of September 11, 2001. I wanted this movement to emphasize the eerie feelings of
loss of that historic day. The minimalist nature of the movement, where the piano
plays the same measure continuously, portrays the tense anxiety of those first days.
Same Day, Every Day was the most heavily influence movement from the article.
In the Spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic ground the world to a halt, and yet
news was happening SO fast, that despite the fact that we couldn’t leave our
homes, it felt like the world was spinning faster on its axis. In honor of the 37 plays
and musicals that had to lower their curtain, some never to re-open, the melodic
material is loosely based around a note set based on the names of the affected