program notes by composition > D > Der Traum des Oenghus

Der Traum des Oenghus

Rolf Rudin

Der Traum des Oenghus is a musical poem in two movements composed in 1993–1996. Oenghus (Angus) son of Fergus, was a Celtic conqueror in Scotland during the Dark Ages. The poem describes an Irish legend in which Prince Oenghus has a nightly dream in which he sees a girl who plays a flute. He falls in love with her but she keeps disappearing, so he sets out to find her.

The first movement converts his vision into sound patterns -- an atmosphere of something dreamlike and unattainable. There is a noise, bell-like motifs and a vacillating, hovering sound stratum that conveys a mysteriously nocturnal character. Several repetitions of a mysterious chant in increasing instrumentation and dynamics symbolize the quest for the girl.

The second movement examines the more “real” aspects of the legend -- expressed by ferocity -- in the prince’s “aberrations” quest for the girl. The flute is given ample room for development. Enigmatic expression floats above a harmonic carpet which links the visions of nightly tranquillity. A march-like rhythm climaxes with the “mysterious chant” of the first part. The atmosphere of apotheosis in the final coda dismisses the audience in a peaceful “legendary atmosphere.”

Rolf Rudin (b. 1961) is a major contemporary German composer of chamber, choir, orchestra and band music.

Last updated on March 19, 2019 by Palatine Concert Band