Nocturne for Lost Souls is a musical portrayal of the Christian parable of the rich man and the beggar. A medium-advanced solo for 5-octave marimba, its technical challenges include the use of right hand octaves, odd meter (7/16), rolls, and multiple time signature changes. This piece is perfect to help marimbists take the next step from intermediate to advanced performance.
Genre: Marimba (4-mallet) | # of Players: 1
Level: Medium Difficult | Duration: 5:00
Solo Marimba (5-octave)
Nocturne for Lost Souls was completed in the fall of 2018 and is my musical portrayal of the Christian parable of the rich man and the poor man. A solo for 5-octave marimba, its technical challenges include the use of right hand octave, the use of an odd meter (7/16), rolls, and multiple time changes. The parable of the rich man and the beggar tells the story of two men who live very different lives and afterlives. Lazarus, a beggar, lives a life of torment, while the unnamed rich man lives a life of luxury; in the afterlife, their fortunes are reversed.
The piece begins with a simple melody, first played in the middle register of the marimba, to represent the wealthy man. We aren’t told exactly how wealthy this man is, but the parable indicates he is far better off than the poor man. Lazarus, the poor man, is represented by the same melody played in the bottom octave of the instrument. The piece then moves toward a driving 7/16 section representing the death of both men. Upon his death, the rich man starts to wonder why he is meant to suffer for all eternity. He pleads for Abraham to dip his finger in water to cool his tongue because he is in pure agony among the fires of Hell.
A slow-moving chorale section portrays Abraham’s initial response to the rich man’s request: Abraham calmly and firmly explains that there is nothing he can do. Realizing all hope for himself is lost, the rich man then begs Abraham to warn his family about his suffering, but he is again denied by Abraham, who says, “they have Moses and the Prophets to warn them.” The rich man repeats his request until eventually Abraham leaves, and the rich man is left to ponder his own suffering. The piece ends with a minor chord that is played five times, one for each of the rich man’s brothers joining him in eternal suffering. The Parable may be found in Luke 16:19 – 31.
Full of lyrical passages and opportunities to play with a wide range of emotion, Nocturne for Lost Souls is sure to be a performer and audience favorite.