COMPOSERS: Carlsen,Pedersen & Siegel,Sydow,Teglbjaerg,Teller
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Music for the Iliad
CATALOGUE NO: 8.224198-99
Commissioned as accompaniments to Professor Otto Steen Due’s readings of his new translation into Danish of The Iliad at the Ny Carlsberg Glypotek in autumn 1999, these six electroacoustic sound sculptures provide trenchant illustrations of Homer’s epic.
Teglbjaerg sets the tale in motion, vividly establishing key motifs such as ‘water against ships’ and ‘sword against shield’, or beastly metaphors of action such as ‘Mycenaean lions’ and ‘Apollo’s bulls’. Carlsen’s spiky portrayal of bloodthirsty battle and Teller’s visceral depiction of spilled guts present scarily realistic sonic images of the horrors of the battlefield.
The essence of Homer’s poetry is the opposition of words and action, and the role of Sydow’s piece as choral commentary signifies a structural landmark. The sampled whispered individual syllables of the women’s chorus that fall across the acoustical space like a rain of arrows combine with vocalisations in complex polyphony to produce a ritualistic tribal energy.
Pedersen’s compellingly blood-curdling delineation of birds and flies gorging themselves on the dead and, finally, the intermittent clarity of Due’s narration of the original Greek and the crackling fire in Siegel’s Burning River underline the terrifying relevance of Homer’s text to today’s thriving culture of violence. Nicholas Rast