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Work

Towards Patmos (after Hölderlin) : for mixed quintet

by Tom Henry (2018)

Work Overview

This work is a free meditation on the opening of the poem 'Patmos' by Friedrich Hölderlin:

'Near it is

And hard to grasp, the God.

But where there is danger

A rescuing force also grows.

The eagles dwell in darkness, and fearlessly

The children of the Alps cross the abyss

On insubstantial bridges.


Therefore, since the peaks of time are gathered high around us

And our dearest ones live near

(But growing dimmer on farthest separated mountains),

Give us pure water,

O give us wings to make the crossing and to return most faithfully.'

So, I spoke, when

Faster than I had ever imagined

I was carried to a place far away

Where I had never thought to go,

By a Genius from my own home.

The twilight was deepening as I went.

The shady forest,

The yearning streams of my homeland,

I no longer knew these regions.

But soon, in a fresh radiance,

Mysteriously,

In a golden haze,

Rising quickly as with steps of the sun

And fragrant with a thousand peaks

Asia burst into flower before me…'

Translation by Lorna Henry & Tom Henry ©2018

Work Details

Year: 2018

Instrumentation: Flute (doubling piccolo), Bb clarinet, violin, cello, piano. (Flute and violin also double Chinese finger cymbals briefly. Violin also plays a handful of notes inside the piano).

Duration: 24 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Macedon Music.. Commissioned as part of the Glen Johnston Commissions Project

First performance: by Syzygy Ensemble — 7 Oct 18. Lowland Farm, Macedon, Vic

A podcast featuring a live performance of the work is at here

Performances of this work

27 Mar 2019: at Syzygy Ensemble - Turning a Phrase (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Syzygy Ensemble.

7 Oct 18: Lowland Farm, Macedon, Vic. Featuring Syzygy Ensemble.

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