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Brian Ferneyhough: Sisyphus Redux

Solo Alto flute World premiere
A new 8 minute work for solo alto flute will be premiered by Carin Levine at Festival Musica Viva with the Bayerischer Rundfunk on 7 April 2011.

Ferneyhough writes:
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was a king punished in Tartarus by being cursed to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll down again, and to repeat this throughout eternity.

Ovid, the famous Roman poet, references Sisyphus in the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. When Orpheus descends and confronts Hades and Persephone, he sings a song with the result of getting his wish of bringing Eurydice back. After this song is sung, Ovid shows how moving it was by noting that Sisyphus sat on his rock to listen, the Latin wording being “inque tuo sedisti Sisyphe, saxo.”

In his 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus sees Sisyphus as personifying the absurdity of human life, but concludes “one must imagine Sisyphus happy” as “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fi ll a man’s heart.” In Sisyphus Redux each line of music may be seen as a renewed attempt, by means of cunning strategems or subtly altered initial conditions, to complete the task imposed by Zeus.

Concert Details, Musica Viva

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