clarinet, trombone, piano, viola, cello and fixed medium

“What hath night to do with sleep?” says the sorcerer Comus who, with his potions and powerful herb, enchants and ensnares those passing through his magic forest. In Maske (1634), John Milton’s only dramatization prior to Paradise Lost (1667) of the conflict between good and evil, one hears the sounds of night, echoes, insects and the sounds of evil.

… wings of silence… is a song of an “empty-vaulted night”; it is an echo of the Lady’s distress at being lost in the forest. It is the few moments during which Comus, realizing that her lament reminds him of his mother Circe’s song as she gathered magic roots, marvels at how sweetly such vocal raptures “float upon the wings/ Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night/At every fall smoothing the Raven doune/Of darkness till it smil’d”. It is the few moments before the sorcerer descends upon his prey.