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Polyhymnia, Op. 10

Sheet Music: Score

Polyhymnia, Op. 10 : lamentation for string orchestra / by Jonathan Little.

Also known as: Muse of sacred poetry

by Jonathan David Little (2010)

  • Purchase Price: $109.09 (Usually ships in 1-4 days) — Add to Cart
  • Library Availability: 784.7/LIT 1 — Reference (not for loan) copy only
  • Instrumentation: Large string orchestra: Violins I, II, III & IV (including 4 solo violins); Violas I, II, III & IV (including 4 solo violas); Cellos I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII & VIII; Contrabass I & II. Suggested minimum balanced forces: 8 (+4) violins, 8 violas, 8 cellos, 2 contrabasses.
  • Audio Sample

    Performance by Petr Vronsky from the CD Polyhymnia


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In Polyhymnia - a searing, many-layered "Lamentation for string orchestra" (with soloists) - the melos or melodic thread often weaves between all parts, and is slow-moving throughout. Initially, it emerges like a cry from the deep. Tension is built, maintained, and released, over long periods. Leaving aside the (rather folk-like - or Celtic sounding) middle interlude, the whole work is effectively a series of extended waves, at times dissipating, before swelling and cascading forth again, towards a final powerful and sustained climax. Harmonically, the work makes great play of clashing semitones, and gradually builds up clusters of notes into evolving, everchanging, and ultimately resolving chord patterns. The string orchestra is employed multi-divisi throughout: there are four individual violin lines (besides an extra four solo parts), ditto in the violas, eight individual cello lines, and two bass lines. This tends to create a thick, rich and complex texture, yet there are also some exceptionally lucid passages - for although Polyhymnia is also the Muse of Eloquence, she is more often characterised as a serious, pensive and meditative holy woman whose main role is to sing praises to the gods. According to some ancient sources, Polyhymnia, sometimes pronounced or abbreviated to "Polymnia", is believed to have invented the lyre, and is also said to be an encourager of the dance.

Published by: Wirripang [979 0 720101 98 9] — 1 score (107p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 21 mins

Commission info: Supported by the Musicians Benevolent Fund (UK) with funding from the Willis & Grace Grant Charitable Trust.

"She of many Hymns". Evocation of the sixth of nine muses.

Recipient of the 'Musicians Benevolent Fund Professional Development Award' (UK).

Typeset edition.

ISMN: 979 0 720101 98 9

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

CD: Polyhymnia : string, orchestral and choral works / by Jonathan Little.


- Browse other works published by Wirripang

- Browse other works for String orchestra

- Browse other works by Jonathan David Little

Analysis & Media

- Resonate Article: Creating and recording Polyhymnia

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