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  • Writer's pictureBret Newton

The Dark Planet

Set of Parts - $250

In early 2017, I had a flurry of composition where I completed four major works for wind band plus several chamber works and a concerto. Of those works, The Dark Planet stands out as a wholly individual work. It is scored for wind ensemble and wordless choir. The Piano part is particularly important rising at many times to the level of a concertante work.

Imagine, if you will, a planet that circles no sun. Scientists call this a rogue planet. It is dark, cold, and foreboding. Nothing lives here nor will ever live here. The only light is the light of stars that shone eons ago. Also imagine a distant traveler approaching the planet. At first, it is a mote of dust in the sky. Slowly, it appears as a real world, dim and dead. At the closest approach, the utter sense of desperation that the planet holds grips our traveler and fills them with dread. And just as quickly as it appears, it fades away into the inky blackness of the void of space.

At least this is how I envision the scenario going. The whole work is in a grand arc form. The beginning and end are the same and all paths lead to the climax in the center of the work. Out in the void of space, we are in a realm of the octotonic scale. It is uneasy, but somewhat familiar. As the planet approaches, we shift to the mystic chord of Scriabin - that unearthly harmony he envisioned would bring the end of the universe.

The ensemble for the work is slightly different than the standard wind ensemble. However, aside from one or two instruments, for which, alternative parts can be provided, it is within the reaches of any college ensemble.


  • Piccolo

  • 2 C Flutes

  • Alto Flute

  • 2 Oboes

  • Alto Oboe*

  • Tenor Oboe*

  • 4 B-flat Clarinets

  • Tenor Clarinet*

  • 2 Bass Clarinets

  • Great Bass Clarinet*

  • Contrabass Clarinet

  • Tenor Saxophone

  • 2 Baritone Saxophones

  • Bass Saxophone

  • 3 Bassoons

  • Contrabassoon

  • 4 F Horns

  • 3 B-flat Cornets

  • 2 Tenor Trombones

  • Bass Trombone

  • Tenor Tuba

  • Contrabass Tuba

  • Timpani

  • 4 Percussion

  • Piano

  • SATB Chorus (opt.)

*Note - I use a more logical and standardized nomenclature for these instruments (English Horn, Bass Oboe, Alto Clarinet, and Contra-Alto Clarinet) to correctly define roles and to add consistency within the instrument families. This system is outlined in my book Band Orchestration - Volume 2: Woodwinds.

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