Music for the Iliad (2 × CD) Burning River

Burning River

Wayne Siegel

  • Year of composition: 1999
  • Duration: 13:37
  • Instrumentation: 4-channel fixed medium
  • Commission: New Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum with support from the Danish Arts Foundation

The work was inspired by a particular section in Book 21 of The Iliad by Homer. In this section, Achilles runs amok against the Trojans. He chases them to the river, Scamander, and forces them into the water, where he continues his merciless slaughter. The river is soon blocked by the many corpses and Scamander pleads with Achilles to end the bloodshed. Achilles refuses to cease straightaway and Scamander is shocked by Achilles’ arrogance. The river responds by overflowing its own banks and creating a veritable deluge. Finally the Gods intervene and Hephaestus sends a huge fire across the plain to stop the flooding.

Burning River begins and ends with a quote from the Iliad recited in Ancient Greek, which roughly translated reads:

“As when the smoke rises up towards the broad arch of heaven / Over a burning town, and is sent by the wrath of the Gods / Suffering it brings to all, and to many it brings death; / Such were the torments and sorrows Achilles brought to the Trojans.”

[source: Réseaux des arts médiatiques]


Burning River was commissioned by the New Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum with support from the Danish Arts Foundation and realized at the Dansk Institut for Elektronisk Musik (DIEM) in Aarhus (Denmark)


Premiere

  • 1999, Concert, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen (Denmark)

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