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    Adam Greene     composer


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Accord 1 Accord 2 Accord 3

Accord (2010)

percussion and piano
duration: 14’
SMMP No. 119


Sonic Diasporas Festival, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, La Jolla, January 20, 2011. Patti Cudd, percussion and Shannon Wettstein, piano
Program Note
Accord, for percussion and piano, was written for Patti Cudd and Shannon Wettstein, longtime friends and colleagues, and current members of the Twin Cities ensemble Zeitgeist. The work takes its point of departure from the Oresteia of Aeschylus, particularly in the final scene of The Eumenides: the confrontation between Athena and the Furies. While this is an archetypal encounter of opposites, one inevitably seeks ways of identifying common ground. After all, that is the intent of Athena’s entreaties to the Furies, who threaten to lay waste to the land, precipitating a calamitous war. Still, the confrontation is elemental, visceral, and the Furies are irrational, so the notion of agreement is remote, even though moments of openness within the piece allow for periods of less fractious interaction. The Furies return again and again with a rant, frustrating Athena’s attempts at persuasion. How does one persuade another who refuses to listen?

The score contains numerous lines of text drawn from the play (I have relied heavily on Richmond Lattimore’s seminal translation). The lines are not spoken but rather serve to introduce a dramatic context to the musical materials. A full listing of these texts is beyond the scope of this program note but I will mention a few lines that may offer a sense of the ideas with which the musicians engage.

The percussion part begins with these lines from the Furies:

     We are the Angry Ones…
     We shall let loose indiscriminate death….

Later, the threat is amplified:

    (I) shall let loose on the land
     the vindictive poison
    dripping deadly out of my heart upon the ground

Meanwhile, the piano part has these lines from Athena:

     Listen to me. I would not have you be so grieved.
    Do not be angry any longer with this land…
     nor spill the dripping rain of death.

While Athena is mostly concerned with calming the Furies and seeking a peaceful resolution, she also makes clear her ability to engage in combat should the situation dissolve:

     I have Zeus behind me…
     and I hold the keys to his thunderbolts.

Finally, as a new space of accord opens, Athena remarks:

     Persuasion has her sacred place
     of worship in the sweet beguilement of my voice.