Crossings’ Epigrams

For large mixed choir

Crossings’ Epigrams is an elegy on things irretrievably lost. Once again, I turned to Ancient Greek literature because it expresses something about the human condition that resonates deeply within me. Three text fragment are interwoven throughout the three short movements that comprise Crossings’ Epigrams: the moment where Odysseus tries to grasp the fleeting vision of his mother, which escapes like a ‘shadow’, or a ‘dream’ (Homer, Odyssey, Book 11); the lines uttered to Antigone by the exhausted old Oedipus as they arrive in Athens, where they plan to seek refuge (Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus); Hecuba's lament over the fall of Troy and collapse of the House of Priam (Euripides, The Trojan Women). Epigram I is a fantasy on the words ‘shadow’ and ‘dream’ of the Homeric text. Epigram II interlaces Odysseus’ agonizing description with Oedipus’ painful realization regarding his current state. Epigram III presents Hecuba’s lament, echoed in distortion by the sea waves, transforming to a chaotic primordial cry. Shadows of the Homeric text trace an invisible but omnipresent line that connects the three Epigrams.

Crossings’ Epigrams can be performed autonomously, or in conjunction with Crossings. In the second case, Epigrams I and II are performed as a unit before Crossings; Epigram III is performed immediately after the conclusion of Crossings.

For a review of the concert with special emphasis on “Crossings Cycle” by David Patrick Stearns, music critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, please click here.

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