I have been asked to compose a new piece for solo cello and soprano by friend and colleague Justin Dougherty, an outstanding young cellist. The piece will be premiered along with several new pieces by young composers on their touring recital "Queering the Pitch II - music for soprano and cello" and will receive premieres at Penn State University and Lone Star College Montgomery in March, along with other premieres across the country (TBA).
I love setting very old poetry and dealing with ancient subjects like mythology. I have been fascinated by the ancient Greek and Roman epics telling of the Sirens for a good amount of time, mostly because it was music that lured sailors to these mystical creatures. After diffing for texts that references the Sirens, I chose four short prose passages from three different ancient Greek sources to place into four movements:
"When a sailor hears the Siren's perfidious song, and bewitched by the melody, he is dragged to a self-chosen fate too soon; no longer he cleaves the waves, no longer he whitens the blue water with his oars unwetted now, but falling into the net of melodious Moira, he forgets to steer, quite happy, caring not for the seven starry Pleiades and the Bear’s circling course." (Dionysiaca 2, Nonnus)
"'Come here,' … 'renowned Ulysses, honour to the Achaean name … No one ever sailed past us without staying to hear the enchanting sweetness of our song- and he who listens will go on his way not only charmed, but wiser, for we know all the ills that the gods laid upon the Argives and Trojans before Troy, and can tell you everything that is going to happen over the whole world.' (Odyssey, Homer, Book XII)
"If any one unwarily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and children will never welcome him home again, for they sit in a green field and warble him to death with the sweetness of their song. There is a great heap of dead men's bones lying all around, with the flesh still rotting off them." (Odyssey, Homer, Book XII)
"And he shall slay the triple daughters of Tethys’ son, who imitated the strains of their melodious mother: self-hurled from the cliff’s top they dive with their wings into the Tyrrhenian sea, where the bitter thread spun by the Fates shall draw them." (Alexandra, Lycophron)
I am excited about this project and will continue to update as it progresses. In the meantime, please visit the websites of these two wonderful artists to learn more about their work.