Ernest Thompson Seton, who looked back about a century ago to a time when we all lived in the forest, called this the "hunger" month and recommended that his students spend the long evenings making their war shirts and in the study of signaling "by semaphore, Myer, Morse, etc. Also by blazes, stone signs, grass signs, smoke fires." Daylight was for gathering rock tripe (hungry!), studying the scars on local aspens and practicing one's snowshoe; the game was "Watching by the Trail."
Certainly February resists the digital calendar. Oracular rodents, quarter days, hearts and cherry trees and unexpected weather. It's the opposite of a clockwork bird.
Today however I get a note from Salzburg that's got me thinking ahead to midsummer. They do a really eye-opening Rackhamesque version of the Dream, which I actually had no patience for as a boy -- the fairy plot drew a dubious crowd at best, while the confused lovers are Shakespearean common stock and the rude players were always most interesting as a preemptive parody of the Fantasticks. Carve all that away, and you've got Joe Theseus on his foredoomed honeymoon, barely a masque. On those terms, it's no wonder that Mendelssohn's take on the play was a Victorian favorite, gilding its pastoral romantic farce exactly like Meissen would turn out shepherdess kitsch.
One of the many interesting "grace" notes the puppetmasters add is a very simple descending synth horn fanfare that cycles through the forest scenes -- usually to accompany wordless passages of the lovers tramping around, sleeping or waking. It's not in the Mendelssohn; they admit that his score is kind of slender, so they had this composed special. It's an incredibly tender and artless motif and like moonlight it works by really not working at all. Hunger Moon knows the play is ridiculous. June takes it seriously with wide eyes, sighs and declamations. It's terribly important to them. For whom are we composing? Who are the fairies . . . really?