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Spirit of Daphne (viola da gamba as soloist)

by Brooke Green (2020)

Spirit of Daphne


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Spirit of Daphne : for 7 string bass viol / Brooke Green.

Library shelf no. 787.3/GRE 3 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

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.

Work Details

Year: 2020

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.

First performance: by Laura Vaughan at Laura Vaughan - Lyric (Live streaming event (online only)) on 10 Jul 2020

Performances of this work

10 Jul 2020: at Laura Vaughan - Lyric (Live streaming event (online only)). Featuring Laura Vaughan.

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