Return to Ithaca

Concert Band

Return to Ithaca

A Greek Tone Poem

Composer:
Genre:
Concert Piece
Grade Level:
Ober-/Höchststufe
Performance time:
00:11:44
Publisher:
Rundel
Size:
DIN A4
Info:
Full Score + Condensed Score + Parts
Order Number:
MVSR2066
Release Date:
1999

Info

Sing to me, O muse, of the deeds of the widely travelled man
who on his long wanderings after Troy’s destruction
saw cities of many people and found sense from life
and who endures so many unutterable sorrows on the high seas.


These verses open the epic work "Odyssey" by the Greek poet Homer who lived around 800 years B.C. It is under his name that the first two epic works of literature were recorded for posterity: The "Jliad“ in which the stories of the Greek heroes in the Trojan war are related and the "Odyssey“ which depicts the ensuing wanderings of Odysseus.

Kees Vlak composed this tone poem based on Homer's story. The starting point for our composition is Olympus, that mountain of the dynasty of gods which is steeped in ancient Greek mythology and on which the omnipotent father of the gods, Zeus, has his throne. In the rest of the composition the various stages of the ten-year-long wanderings of Odysseus, the courageous king of Ithaca are described. He had helped the Greeks to defeat the Trojans by means of his ruse with the wooden horse but was later cursed by Poseidon the god of the sea for his arrogance. After a cadenza of the solo clarinet which leads us into the mysterious world of the god of the sea we arrive on the island of the Cyclops Polyphemus, the one-eyed giant who seeks to kill Odysseus and his companions yet is finally blinded by them. In the main part of the composition we hear the enticing dances of the beautiful nymph, Calypso and the seductive songs of the magician, Kirke who turned the companions of Odysseus into animals. In order not to fall prey to the irresistible singing of the Sirens, the shrewd Odysseus poured wax into the ears of his companions and had himself bound to the ship’s mast. So they in turn fail to stop the king of Ithaca who is helped by Athene, the goddess of wisdom, from finally returning home as an old man to find his faithful wife Penelope who has been waiting for him throughout all these years of war and wanderings. Thus the story which has been passed down to us by thousands upon thousands of singers from ancient world finds an happy ending.

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