Spirit of Daphne (viola da gamba as soloist)
by Brooke Green (2020)
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Library shelf no. 787.3/GRE 3 [Available for loan]
In the ancient Greek myth, the naiad Daphne
desperately tries to flee Apollo's lascivious advances. Just at
the moment when he reaches her, she appeals to her mother Gaia
who turns her into a laurel tree. But Daphne was no saint -
before this, she and her nymph attendants killed the
cross-dressing Leucippos for the treachery of his deception.
Daphne was a popular tune in the 17th century and there's a
lovely version for lyra viol by Richard Sumarte which works well
as a prelude to The Spirit of
Daphne. Laura Vaughan asked me to write a
response and The Spirit of Daphne is where I try to evoke
Daphne's complex psyche. The extremes of contrasts between high
and low registers and between different techniques e,g, pizz,
arco, harmonics could be regarded as various aspects of Daphne's
personality and her sorrow and relief in response to her fate. I
see the final page as her maturation after overcoming adversity,
and the final note as her spirit, hovering.
This is a re-imagining of Daphne by Richard Sumarte (17th century) for Lyra viol.
Instrumentation: 7 string bass viol.
Duration: 7 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — artificial harmonics, use of high range above the frets
Dedication note: Dedicated to Laura Vaughan
Commission note: Commissioned by Laura Vaughan.
Performances of this work
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