WORKS / upcoming

LES MUSES

for female choir SSAA and orchestra (2021)
work in progress...
1) CALLIOPE (epic poetry)2) CLIO (history)3) EUTERPE (music)4) ERATO (love poetry)5) MELPOMENE (tragedy)6) POLYHYMNIA (hyms)7) TERPSICHORE (dance)8) THALIA (comedy)9) URANIA (astronomy)
The Muses were the Greek goddesses of inspiration in literature, science and the arts.
Before the Classical idea of the nine Muses, Pausanias tells us of three Muses, different altogether from the nine we know. They were: Melete, or Practice. Mneme, or Memory and Aeode, or Song
It was only later, with Hesiod that the idea of Nine Muses showed up.
According to it, they were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Zeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus birthing the nine Muses.
Μnemosyne gave the babies to Nymph Eufime and Apollo (God of Light, Eloquence, Poetry and Fine Arts). When they grew up they showed their tendency to the arts, taught by God Apollo himself.Apollo brought them to the big and beautiful Mount Elikonas, where the older Temple of Zeus used to be. Ever since, the Muses supported and encouraged creation, enhancing imagination and inspiration of the artists.
There were nine Muses according to Hesiod, protecting a different art and being symbolised with a different element; Calliope (epic poetry – symbol: writing tablet), Clio (history – symbol: scroll. The myth tells that she introduced the Phoenician alphabet to Greece), Erato (love poetry – symbol: cithara, a Greek type of lyre), Euterpe (lyric poetry – symbol: aulos, a Greek flute), Melpomene (tragedy – symbol: tragic mask), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry – symbol: veil), Terpsichore (dance – symbol: lyre), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry – symbol: comic mask), and Urania (astronomy – symbols: globe and compass).
All the Hesiodic names are significant; thus Calliope means “She of the Beautiful Voice”, Clio the “Proclaimer”, Erato the “Lovely”, Euterpe the “Well Pleasing”, Melpomene the “Songstress”, Polymnia “She of the Many Hymns”, Thalia the “Blooming”, Terpsichore “Delighting in the Dance”, and Urania the “Heavenly”.

Calliope. She was the patron of epic poetry. Calliope was the mother of Orpheus by the King of Thrace. Her symbol was a writing tablet.Clio. She was the patron of history, and inventor of historical and heroic poetry. Her symbol was a scroll.Erato. She was the Muse of lyric poetry about love and eroticism. Her symbol was cithara, a Greek type of lyreEuterpe. She was the Muse of lyric poetry and music.Polyhymnia. She was the Muse of Sacred Hymn, and of Eloquence. Her symbol was the veil.Melpomene. She was the muse of Tragedy. Her symbol was the tragic mask.Terpsichore. She was the Muse of dancing and choral singing. Her symbol was the lyre.Thalia. She presided over comedy and pastoral poetry . Her symbol was the comic mask.Urania. She was the Muse of astronomy and astrology. Her symbols were the globe and the compass.

Hesiod also states that the Muses were created as an aid to forgetfulness and relief from troubles, perhaps as a balance to their mother, who personified memory.
“Mnemosyne (Memory), who reigns over the hills of Eleuther, bear of union with the father, the son of Cronos, a forgetting of ills and a rest from sorrow. For nine nights did wise Zeus lie with her, entering her holy bed remote from the immortals. And when a year was passed and the seasons came round as the months waned, and many days were accomplished, she bare nine daughters, all of one mind, whose hearts are set upon song and their spirit free from care, a little way from the topmost peak of snowy Olympus”. Hesiod´s Theogony. (ll. 53-74).
The Muses probably were originally the patron goddesses of poets, although later their range was extended to include all liberal arts and sciences—hence, their connection with such institutions as the Museum.
Although bringers of festivity and joy, the Muses were not to be trifled with when it came to the superiority of their artistic talents. The nine daughters of Pierus foolishly tried to compete musically with the Muses on Mt. Helicon and were all turned into birds for their impertinence. The Thracian musician Thamyres (son of the Nymph Agriope) was another who challenged the Muses in music and after inevitably coming second best to the goddesses was punished with blindness, the loss of his musical talent, and his singing voice.
Calliope was called on by Zeus to arbitrate the dispute between Aphrodite, the goddess of Love and Beauty, and Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, when both fell in love with the handsome Adonis. As a result of her decision, Adonis was to spend one-third of every year with each goddess and the last third wherever he chose. Thus he decided to spend two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite.
When Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom rescued Pegasus, the winged horse, shortly after his birth, the goddess entrusted the Muses with his care.
The young colt, excited to meet the lovely Muses, kicked the side of the Mountain, causing springs to gush out of the side of the mountain. Springs and wells both became sacred symbols of the Muses, representing the fountains of inspiration that they provided.
Urania took the major responsibility for caring for Pegasus, and prophesied his future heroism as well as his eventual place amongst the stars in the heavens. She also suffered a lot when Bellerophontes, a mythical hero, took Pegasus away.