The Ghostly Moon Barry D. Truax

The Ghostly Moon is a music theatre work inspired by the tradition of Chinese ghost stories, many of which are centred on a female ghost who wishes to return to life. In this case, the story combines elements and poetry from many different sources from the 16th to the 18th centuries, and portrays the ghost as a wronged woman who returns for vengeance. However, the young scholar she visits is the brother of the man who betrayed her, and once she hears his voice she realizes this is her true lover. To return to life she must join with him as his wife, which is the outcome of many of the traditional Chinese tales. The disembodied theatrical effects from traditional Chinese drama suggested a contemporary treatment with electroacoustic techniques. The work was commissioned by the Orchid Ensemble with the support of the BC Arts Council, and is dedicated to them. The voices heard on tape telling the story are those of Kathy Borneman and Chris Grigor. The composer is indebted to Prof. Judith Zeitlin of the University of Chicago whose book, The Phantom Heroine, provided much inspiration and several of the poetic translations.

  • Year of composition: 2008
  • Genre: Electroacoustics
  • Format: Fixed media
  • Instrumentation: erhu, zheng, marimba and digital soundtracks
  • Software used: PODX system for sound synthesis and composition; SoundHack
  • Duration of the submitted work: 11:00
  • Premiere: October 25, 2008, The Ghostly Moon, Orchid Ensemble concert, Roundhouse, Vancouver
  • Disc publication: The CD Life Death Tears Dream, by the Orchid Ensemble is available, OE 2012.

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