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ORPHEUS DIES (2017)
for violoncello
Duration: 7 1/2'
SMMP No. 125

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 Frankin 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. It juxtaposes gestural materials then interrogates them by
breaking apart their physical components. This process can be productive or
destructive, depending on the circumstance, and there are frequent shifts
between these distinct conditions. Each panel of the piece changes the
stakes, setting up a different terrain in which to explore these issues.

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