A Congress of Passions (medium voice, oboe, piano), Op.62
|Duration (approx)|| ||11 minutes|
Medium voice, oboe, piano
|Text Author(s)|| ||Sappho|
|Text Language|| ||Greek|
Also version for medium voice, oboe, 14 strings, Op.63a.
|Related Works|| ||A Congress of Passions (medium voice, oboe, strings), Op.62a|
|Publisher|| ||Faber Music|
Michael Chance, Nicholas Daniel and Julius Drake with funds provided by South East Arts.
|First performance|| ||20 March 1994|
|Venue|| ||Cranbrook School, Kent|
|Soloists / Players|| ||Michael Chance (counter-tenor), Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Julius Drake, (piano)|
|Review|| ||Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 13 June 2001|
| || |
The piece is impressive, strong in its brevity and aphoristic tension. Lush strings – the Britten Sinfonia sound is very opulent – and ricocheting oboe phrases encapsulate the “bitter sweetness” of desire. The “fire that races benath the skin” cues a twitchy, obsessive blues. The cantata ends with a famous meditation on the setting moon and Pleiades. The strings unfold a sequence of shivery Bergian chords, and voice and oboe briefly entwine before the singer is left in solitude. Throughout, Chance’s voice hovers in a world beyond gender, perhaps acknowledging that we at long last accept a universality of emotion in Sappho that transcends orientation.
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