|||The White Whale

The White Whale

Baritone, Flute (doubling piccolo), oboe, 2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet), bassoon, contrabassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, harp, piano (doubling celesta), percussion (two players), strings

The White Whale is a musical projection of Ahab’s madness as revealed in fragments of soliloquy and dialogue from nine different chapters of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The four movements do not attempt to mirror Melville’s continous narrative. Instead, they reflect some of the novel’s greatest discontinuities by juxtaposing paradoxical aspects of Ahab’s character—aspects which are revealed one by one in non-successive chapters strung out like beads on a chain throughout the book—in a radically compressed time frame. The compression heightens awareness of the depth and complexity of Ahab’s personality and of his relationship to the whale while creating a particular dramatic tension of its own. The text was adapted from the book by the composer.


  1. The Prisoner
  2. In Nomine Diaboli
  3. The Symphony
  4. A Hump Like a Snow-Hill
Composed: 1981
Duration: 30:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Piano/Vocal Score, 4098
Full score and parts available for rental.
The White Whale


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