Choral symphony : for choir, organ and orchestra
by Carl Vine (1996)
Also known as: Symphony No. 6
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I wanted this work to revel in the power of human community. There should be no soloists, and the text should relate to our basic need for religion without being overtly religious. To focus on this 'inner' humanity, I selected four hymns from religions long-dead, in languages that have not been spoken for thousands of years. Although there are only a handful of scholars in the world who could plumb the depth of both these languages, the sequence of phonemes, the rhythm and intent of the sounds, still resonate with our primal need to create order form chaos.
Enuma Elish is a creation myth describing the creation of the world from primeval chaos. Although generally described as 'Sumerian' or 'Babylonian' and possibly originating before 2000 BC, this version of the myth is taken from a cuneiform tablet in Semitic Akkadian of Northern Babylonia, 1300-1250 BC. The remaining three texts are Eis Gên, Eis Selênên, and Eis Hêlion - hymns to the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun. These are taken from the Homeric Hymns (circa 400 BC), written in the centuries following Homer's death as introductions to public readings of his great epics. They were written in Greek 'Epic Dialect' and have been interpreted according to Revised Classical pronunciation.
These four tracts combine to form a simple pantheon of the human condition: an account of creation followed by our relationship to the prime deities of the cosmos. Each hymn is preceded by an orchestral prelude.
I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Trevor Evans (Sydney University, Classics Department) and Professor Noel Weeks (Sydney University, Department of Ancient History) for their patient help in explaining Ancient Greek and Semitic Akkadian, respectively.
— Carl Vine
Instrumentation: SATB choir, flute (doubling piccolo), flute (doubling piccolo and alto flute), 2 oboes (2nd doubling cor anglais), 2 clarinets in B flat (2nd doubling bass clarinet in B flat), 2 bassoons (2nd doubling contra-bassoon), 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, tenor trombone, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), organ, harp, strings.
Duration: 26 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Martin Joseph Ynfante
Commission note: Commissioned with funds provided by Australia Council. Performing Arts Board.. Commissioned by Guildford Grammar School (of Perth, Western Australia)
- In the form/style of: Symphonies
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