|Orpheus in the Afterworld: Concerto
for Flute and Chamber Orchestra (1994)
Solo flute, 2 Horns in F, 1 Bassoon, Strings
1. Summer rain
Orpheus in the Afterworld was composed on
the heels of a song entitled Summer Rain based on the
aftermath of the familiar legend of Orpheus. The song
imagines Orpheus frozen in the moment of losing his love, Euridice,
conjuring up a storm to spell out his rage and anguish. The
with a drone
that dims the eye,
in a stunning moment, now the world's undone.
If I turn once more, will you still be gone?
provided the primary substance for the first movement of the
concerto, both musically and emotionally: this is a work of
abrupt contrasts between aggressive, rhythmic passages and longer,
The first three notes of the piece (Eb, D, C#) are produced
by singing and playing the flute simultaneously; they form both
the primary motivic material and referential key centers for
the work as a whole.
The second movement treats the Baroque sarabande to postmodern
juxtapositions: a brief ritornello in the strings alternates
with 1] an arioso flute melody over a ground bass in the muted
horns, 2] an increasingly dissonant trio section, 3] a solo
cadenza, and 4] a return to the original ground bass combined
with material from the trio. The result is a slightly off-balance
synthesis of old and new.
The third movement combines the aggressive rhythms of the first
movement with the ground bass of the second in a furious bacchanal
that demands percussive residual tones and stratospheric playing
from the flutist.
Orpheus in the Afterworld was commissioned and premiered
by Elizabeth Holler Ransom and the Carolina Chamber Symphony.
ORDER ORPHEUS IN THE AFTERWORLD:
Dillon's Flute Concerto is truly an outstanding
work. The piece successfully maintained an extremely
coherent and powerful dramatic flow. Dillon's
unique compositional voice clearly makes itself heard.
[A] passionate and often unpredictable work.
|- Charlotte Observer