The Muses, op. 54

SSA choir (with optional TBB) – – tmp+3 – hp — str
18 min.

Why does the choral score cost so much?

The Muses, op. 54 for chorus and orchestra was composed in early 2022, written specifically for the combined forces of Seattle’s Harmonia Orchestra & Chorus.

The text is in Ancient Greek and comes from Diodorus Siculus’ The Library of History. If the thought of having your choir sing in Greek gives you the heebie-jeebies, let me put your mind at ease: I’ve had the original Greek text transliterated into latin script, and it’s just as easy to read as any modern Romance language. Your choir is probably comfortable singing in Latin, and I’d say there’s a similar “hit rate” in terms of recognizing the meanings of individual words from Greek roots that have found their way into English as there is with Latin.

The piece is a quasi-theme and variations, but I would more accurately describe it more as a “thematic field and development episodes.” (It might secretly be a ballet.) Each of the nine muses of Ancient Greek mythology gets its own episode:

  1. Cleio, the muse of history
  2. Euterpe, the muse of music
  3. Thalia, the muse of comedy
  4. Melpomene, the muse of tragedy
  5. Terpsichore, the muse of dance
  6. Erato, the muse of love poetry
  7. Polymnia, the muse of hymnody
  8. Urania, the muse of astronomy
  9. Calliope, the muse of epic poetry

There is also an introduction and a coda, which invoke and explain the muses more generally.

Program notes from the original performance can be found here and the texts and translations here. The full score for perusal is here.