Edward Knight: “Seven” Days and Moons

Edward Knight; Photo: M.J. Alexander

“….The sky became black as all the magpies and crows on earth flew off toward the Silvery River. With their wings spread wide, the birds formed a bridge across the river. When Kyonu and Chiknyo realized what the birds had done, they stopped crying and rushed to each other across the feathery bridge. They held each other all night and talked about their happy life together and how much they missed each other. As dawn began to break, they shed a few tears and parted to return to their posts in the east and west…In the West, Kyonu and Chiknyo are known as the bright stars Altair and Vega, and the Silvery River is known as the Milky Way….” ****

This glimpse into the Korean folktale “Chilwol-chilsuk” – a love story about a Weaver and Herdsman (celebrated on the festival day of July 7) – is the inspiration for Edward Knight’s new band work Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon. Matthew Mailman conducts the Oklahoma City University Wind Philharmonic’s November 29 premiere. Based on a well-known Asian folk story, and originally scored for small ensemble (violin, clarinet, cello and piano), the five-movement, 15-minute chamber piece was written for and premiered by the enhake Quartet.

Oklahoma City University Wind Philharmonic; courtesy: Oklahoma City University Music Department

“[For the original commission,]” Knight shares, “the members of enhake wanted a piece that told a story in a cinematic way. Since three of the four members were Korean, I chose a Korean folk tale. I found this story to be beautiful and inspirational. The piece is broken up into five movements, [each] with distinctive tunes and motifs reflecting the moods and characters in the story. For this new, larger and very different orchestration, most of the music remains the same. However, in the third movement, I completely rewrote it to distinctly separate it from the original music, and it features the percussion section alone as it fits better with the new orchestration.”

Matthew Mailman, the ensemble’s music director notes, “Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon marks the seventh creative collaboration and the sixth world premiere between Edward Knight and me over a 15-year period. Written for the Oklahoma City University Wind Philharmonic, the piece features challenges for all sections of the ensemble. We’re working closely in and out of rehearsals to teach the ensemble this marvelous, new, accessible work which will surely become popular among band directors.” Also featured on the concert is Knight’s band work Hit On All Sixes.

Knight’s next world premiere features another band piece, Inbox, which premieres on February 21, 2013, when Joseph Missal conducts the Oklahoma State University Wind Ensemble.

**** To read the “Chilwol-chilsuk” folktale, click here

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