(1999) for chamber group
Commissioned by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with financial support from West Midland Arts and BCMG Sound Investors
World Premiere: 28 January
2000, CBSO Centre Birmingham
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Nicholas Kraemer conductor
Publisher: Novello & Co Ltd
Thea Musgrave is still producing distinctive, shapely works. The plotting is so perfect and the proportioning so well judged, it works as both a piece of instrumental scene painting and a mini-concerto.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian
The innovative New York ensemble Sequitur makes a bold statement with its debut recording . . . in Thea Musgrave's "Lamenting with Ariadne" the solo viola, as the abandoned and grieving Ariadne, is revivified by the trumpet as Dionysus, approaching from offstage to lead a joyful dance. These three pieces, excellently performed and vividly recorded, complete a well planned and invigorating programme.
Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine
At the beginning imagine Ariadne and her companions standing on a lonely seashore watching a tall ship depart into the misty distance. Ariadne (represented by a solo viola) is desolate at the sudden unexplained departure of Theseus, she has outbursts of despairing anger. These two moods of desolation and anger alternate, slow "anchor chords", always returning at the same pitches, are separated by passionate cadenza-like passages. Ariadne's companions are unable to comfort her.
Then in the distance Dionysus (represented by an offstage trumpet) approaches. At first Ariadne does not even hear him. Eventually he enters and the music suddenly changes: not only the tempo which now goes very fast, but also the instrumental colour (the bass clarinet takes up the clarinet, and the percussion player changes from metals, tamtam, tubular bells, vibraphone and cymbals to the marimba with its wooden slats.
Dionysus then "invites" each of the players to join in a whirling celebration and in the end, even Ariadne is roused from her grief to take part with joy and abandon. As the trumpet and viola sing a duet together the music rises to a climax. Then a soft and serene coda reintroduces the viola's "anchor chords" from the beginning, but now they are transformed into a melting and serene cadence.
Lamenting with Ariadne
Viola & Chamber Orchestra
Daniel Panner, solo viola
Paul Hostetter, conductor
Albany Records Troy 607
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