Perpetual Angelus

George Tsontakis

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Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"Perpetual Angelus" (?The Dry Salvages,? the third of Eliot?s cycle) The title for this piece comes from the following passage:
?Also pray for those who were in ships?Or wherever cannot reach them the sound of
the sea bell?s Perpetual Angelus?

Like Eliot?s poem, "Perpetual Angelus" is a psychological-spiritual landscape. The river (?I do not know much about gods, but I think that the river is a strong, brown god?) and the sea (?The river is within us, the sea is all about us?) are the huge metaphor-media that the most fearless of ?voyagers? recognize and choose to venture into. Some frightening images are to be respected: the sea howl; the sea yelp (?There is no end to it, that voiceless wailing?), the ?Menace and caress of a wave that breaks on water? and the tolling bells which warn the voyager ?The sea has many voices, many gods, and many voices.? Finally, there is the ?prayer? for those voyagers as they are petitioned to go even farther. It is the prayer to the ?Lady, whose shrine stands on the promontory? Figlia del tuo Figlio, Queen of Heaven.? It is the ?hardly, barely, prayable, prayer of the Annunciation.?

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From the time I completed the first of my "Four Symphonic Quartets", ?Perpetual Angelus? in February, 1992, until the completion of the last ?Other Echoes? in April, 1996, I had also fulfilled, intermittently, ten other commissioned works, not related to this cycle. This additional output includes two orchestral pieces as well as eight chamber works. Clearly, it was a creatively productive period of musical challenges, with an accent on deadline. One might expect that such lapses in continuity might serve to disrupt the concentrated effort on such a large work, eventually clouding the necessary unity, yet throughout the four-or-so year period the thread connecting the intent and creative integrity of these four pieces remained unsevered. On the contrary, attending to the ?non-Eliot? projects offered a welcomed respite from the major work-in-progress. It allowed time for the subconscious, conjured images to brew, re-brew and fructify, and then to transform ? somewhere deep ? in to a personal musical manifestation. Of course, it doesn?t hurt to have as a companion and stimulus, a literary masterpiece which suggests, for example, that the past, present and future might, at moments, exist simultaneously, in one deep, poetic breath.

Fortunately, opportunities to compose for this cycle arose at timely and mostly convenient intervals, vis

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Additional Information

Composition Date 1992
Duration 00:15:00
Orchestration 2 2 2 2 - 4 2 1 0; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
Premiere April 27th, 1992. Tuscaloosa Symphony, conducted by Ransom Wilson. Tuscaloosa, Alabama.