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The Fate of Phaethon : for soprano, horn and string quartet

by May Lyon (2017)

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Work Overview

The Fate of Phaethonis a reflection on life and tragedy. Referencing the untimely death of the wilful and defiant demi-god Phaethon of Greek legend, this piece adapts text from John Milton's Elegy V: On the Coming of Spring to create a storyline from three perspectives, all sung by the Soprano: The Distant Observer; Earth; and Phaethon.

The Distant Observer introduces the themes of the brevity of life and time. Earth beckons the wayward toward her, with a repeating refrain of "come hither".

Phaethon, overwhelmed, flits between tumultuous emotions, both longing for the freedom of the heavens and fearing the turmoil within and without.

The ensemble moves from cooler atmospheric timbres, through to Earth's streams, breeze and sway of nature. The strings eventually become the drivers of chaos with

the horn echoing Earth's luscious yet inexorable call.

Work Details

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: Soprano, horn in F, 2 violins, viola, cello.

Duration: 14 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: The Distant Observer -- Earth -- Phaethon -- Earth -- The Distant Observer.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Petr Hanzak

Commission note: Commissioned by Ensemble Goldentree.

First performance: by Ensemble Goldentree at A New Voice (Richmond Uniting Church) on 7 Oct 2017

Revised 2019.

Performances of this work

11 Sep 19: Ian Potter Southbank Centre, The University of Melbourne . Featuring Ensemble Goldentree.

7 Oct 2017: at A New Voice (Richmond Uniting Church). Featuring Ensemble Goldentree.

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