The Dark Forest

About the Show

  • Original Music by Ben Hylton
  • Mvt II from Concerto for Piano, Trumpet, and Strings by Dmitri Shostakovich

Dark at it’s very core, this show explores different moods of the macabre and like many of our shows, this musical production is flexible enough to be used for different concepts and storylines; create a new concept about witchcraft, evil beasts, or something even more terrifying. Any changes you can imagine are possible when choosing a custom reorchestration.

A sinister preshow with piano, synth, and sound effects sets the ghastly mood leading to a crawling mallet lines and low brass figures and woodwind flourishes that build to an intense peak. Constantly changing harmonies and running triplet lines will show off your group’s technical prowess and powerful sound. A short soundscape carries our ear to the beginning of the next movement allowing for a quick restaging, choreography, or characterization moment.

Movement two continues with a percussion feature that incorporates the legendary Dies Irae theme and a rock-oriented groove that students absolutely love to perform. Then, a trumpet solo creates a moment of repose before we are launched into a highly technical and rhythmic phrase that allows for three layers of groups for staggered choreography. Long maestoso phrases then lead us to another rhythmic phrase with metallic effects and angular mallet lines that motivate to an evil ending.

Movement three begins with a transition incorporating vocal synth sounds that evoke a malevolent mood. A great moment for more characterization or choreography that culminates on a single chime strike. Next, a soothsayer soundscape seems to hiss at the audience and creates a sinister mood that can be represented visually in numerous ways. Next, accompaniment from strings and mallets sets up a slow waltz feel and three brass soloists share a melody that cascades down from player to player before returning back up to the trumpet who finishes with a ray of hope that ends in silence. Woodwinds then take over Shostakovich’s haunting melody and fade away to a surprising subito fortissimo full ensemble moment. After the final climax of this movement, our trumpet soloist reappears from a distance to finish the phrase; a dark swath of cloth over his body could represent that his soul has been taken.

The final movement of the show begins with a reappearance of the soothsayer who evokes a frenzy of woodwind and mallet features. Then the Dies Irae theme begins an ostinato in which 4 more layers are added created high-velocity phrase. The original show theme then returns creating continuity and drives to a rocking finale which is modeled after the final credits of a horror film. Dark, intense, wicked, this is a show that everyone will enjoy!

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