Three masked instrumentalists
amplified flute, cello and piano

DURATION • 20 minutes

EDITOR • Peters, nº P66466

PREMIERE • March 17, 1972, United States, Washington, D.C., Library of Congress, by the New York Camerata.

As the name of the work indicates, Vox Balaenae is inspired by whale songs. In the late 1960s, George Crumb heard a recording prepared by an oceanographer of the sounds emitted by the humpback whale... In 1971, Crumb drew his inspiration from these sounds.


Although the piece has 8 movements, they are structurally grouped into three parts: the first movement"...for the beginning of time", 5 variations named after geological periods, and the last movement"...for the end of time".


During this performance, musicians are asked to wear black half masks. It is also strongly recommended, as far as possible, that the performance be carried out under blue light.

Movement titles

• Vocalise (... for the beginning of time)

• Variations on Sea-Time

Sea Theme
Archeozoic [var. I]
Proterozoic [var. II]
Paleozoic [var. III]
Mesozoic [var. IV]
Cenozoic [var. V]

• Sea-Nocturne (... for the end of time)