Phaedra

for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra

George Rochberg

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Quick Overview

I have chosen only the high points, the peaks of Phaedra?s tragedy, in the belief that through her agony, the essence of this ancient and terrible but all-too-human drama will emerge and that only that essence truly lends itself to musical setting. The instrumental portions of this work supply a kind of musical metaphor for those key narrative aspects which, had they been treated vocally, would have required composing an opera. This would have, in my view, diluted the power of a single-minded concentration on the monumental figure of Phaedra, the pawn and victim of Venus, the goddess of love and the radiant splendor of her barbaric ferocity.

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Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the New Music Ensemble, Syracuse, NY, with assistance from New York State Council on the Arts
Composition Date 1973-1974
Duration 00:32:00
Orchestration Solo Mezzo-sop.; 2 2 2 2 - 4 2 3 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
Premiere Neva Pilgrim with Syracuse Symphony, David Loebel, conductor, January 9, 1976