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    Adam Greene     composer

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Sample score pages

Orpheus Orpheus 1 Orpheus 2 Orpheus 3


ORPHEUS DIES (2017)


for violoncello
duration: 7 1/2'
SMMP No. 125














Performance Notes
Orpheus was the sole figure in mythology who was able to serve both Apollo and Dionysus, those warring gods whose opposing stances (order vs. chaos, reason vs. emotion, etc.) left no middle ground. He was conflicted, though, and eventually chose to leave the cult of Dionysus because he could no longer participate in killing. Alas, it was a fatal choice. The Maenads pursued him in fury for his apostasy, and tore him to pieces. The legend ends with his disembodied head floating down the river Hebrus upon his lyre, still singing.

ORPHEUS DIES explores the nature of impractical coexistence of contradictory ideas and attitudes, and of contrasting approaches. Written for Franklin Cox, who has pioneered the performance and composition of complex music for the cello, ORPHEUS DIES simultaneously presents divergent materials and modes of sound production, which tend to have either teleological implications or momentary, emotive ones.

The piece consists of six “panels,” ranging in duration from an aphoristic 34 seconds to a contemplative, obsessive 1’40” and ends with a coda that features a fragment from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo.