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The Witching hour (solo carillon)

by Jessica Wells (2017)

Witching hour


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The Witching hour : for carillon / Jessica Wells.

Library shelf no. 786.64/WEL 3 [Available for loan]

Work Overview


Is the time, in occult beliefs, that the "witching hour" occurs. When black magic is at it's most effective and when witches, demons and ghosts are at their most powerful! Christian superstitions cite that Jesus died at 3PM so the inverse time of 3AM is what is called the "Devil's Hour".

Shakespeare may have coined the term in "Hamlet" in 1603:

'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.

The piece begins with three tolls for 3am, which is followed by an invitation to explore a sinister soundscape, fragments heard with distant echoes, a melody accompanied with a high cluster chord pulse, and a general feeling of "otherworldliness".

Work Details

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: Carillon.

Duration: 3 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: written for Thomas Laue

Commission note: Commissioned by the National Capital Authority and the Australian National University with assistance from the Australia Council for the Arts

First performance: May 17. Canberra International Music Festival

Performances of this work

2 Jul 2017: at World Carillon Congress (Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya). Featuring Thomas Laue.

May 17: Canberra International Music Festival

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