The Mythology Suite
consists of three movements of my Mythology Symphony
, arranged for large wind ensemble.
Movement 1: The Lovely Sirens
The Sirens were sea nymphs, usually pictured as part woman and part bird, who lived on a secluded island surrounded by rocks. Their enchanting song was irresistible to passing sailors, who were lured to their deaths as their ships were destroyed upon the rocks. The Lovely Sirens presents three ideas: the Sirens’ beautiful song, an unfortunate group of sailors whose course takes them near the island, and the disaster that befalls the sailors. The sailors’ peril is represented by the Morse code S.O.S. signal (three dots, three dashes, and three dots—represented musically by short and long rhythms). The S.O.S. signal grows increasingly more insistent and distressed as it becomes obvious that the sailors, smitten with the voices of the Sirens, are headed for their demise.
Movement 2: Penelope Waits
This quiet movement represents Queen Penelope, the faithful wife of Odysseus, as she patiently waits twenty years for her husband’s return from fighting the Trojan Wars. Penelope herself is represented as an oboe. She is accompanied by a chamber orchestra (rather than the entire ensemble) as she keeps at bay the suitors who wish to marry her and inherit her riches.
Movement 3: Pandora Undone
This movement is, in turns, both lighthearted and serious. The music depicts a young, naïve Pandora who, while dancing around her house, spies a mysterious box. She tries to resist opening it, but her curiosity ultimately gets the best of her. When she cracks the lid open and looks inside, all evils escape into the world. Dismayed by what she has done, she looks inside the box once more. She discovers hope still in the box and releases it to temper the escaped evils and assuage mankind’s new burden.