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Melissanthi 5 poems set for  alto and guitar

 The Capital sung - English (mp3)

 The Capital spoken - original Greek (mp3)

 The Capital sample page of score (pdf)



Translation by Diana Maynard

THE CAPITAL 1980

I take my diving suit and drift around

in the aquarium of the city.

Its streets all teem with divers of murky waters:

bodies of the drowned that sway,

hooked onto fishing lines

hinder the traffic.



Avid eyes lie in wait,

lie in ambush at ev'ry step:

merchandise cheap, sordid bait,

and the prey is trapped with ease.


At the central crossings

the concentration of plankton

is pushed towards the gaping entrances

of supermarkets.

The gaping mouths of voracious cetaceans

washed up in crucial areas of the capital:

enormous mammals which regurgitate

the incoming and outgoing shoal.


In the rush hour the tidal wave is swelling

the continuous perpetual tumult

from the insatiable appetite

of the crowd:

The menace which grows,

the cracked and empty jar,

the invisible black hole

which gulps down the galaxy

1. The Capital 1980 2. The Houses where we have lived



The Houses where we have lived - sung (mp3)

The Houses where we have lived - spoken words (mp3)

Sample page of score (pdf)



Translation by Diana Maynard

THE HOUSES WHERE WE HAVE LIVED

We have no being

we do not exist anywhere


the houses where we have lived

they cut the ropes

which held them fast at anchor


freely now they blow in a void

fading scenery


the wind has lifted them

seized them with all our possessions

they vanished in one night

dissolved like salt in water

they have existed

they exist no more

they are not.

3. We have cast anchor at Midnight


We have cast anchor - sung (mp3)

We have cast anchor - spoken original (mp3)

sample page of score (pdf)



Translation by Diana Maynard

WE HAVE CAST ANCHOR

AT MIDNIGHT

My eyes flooded with sleep

at the sound of a drop of rain


the trill of a nightingale

froze in the moonlight.


Now I have crowded my room with birds:

stuffed birds who ever croaked.


Strange moans are heard

sorrowful voices in the inner ear.


Within me lies the help

I have been calling for years;


till now my voice has not reached it.

Still some kind of noise has prevented me.


Now and then the door opens by itself

in a mysterious manner

I shall never discover.

4. The Outside and the Inside

The Outside and the Inside - sung (mp3)

The Outside and the Inside - spoken original (mp3)

sample page of score (pdf)

Translation by Diana Maynard

THE OUTSIDE AND THE INSIDE

Hazily she was looking at herself

in the windowpane

when the house-light turned on

a reflection in the glass,



and all of a sudden

she was whisked away

with the chandelier and the furniture

out into the rain.



Her locks kept twining

with the pyracantha

beaten by the storm;


they stayed unruffled.


A wisp of steam rose from a teacup

perched on a branch swinging;



it kept its poise.


The trees were driven wild by the wind;



whilst on the shelves

the books arranged

gave an impression

of the order and warmth

of an imaginary room

transported into the night

and rigour of rain

5. Hour Zero



Hour Zero - sung (mp3)

Hour Zero - spoken original (mp3)

sample page of score (pdf)


Translation by Diana Maynard

Hour Zero

I am Akhenaten

your faithful cat

from the distant land of the Pharaohs.

Sacred guardian of ancient tombs

I bend the bow of my back

and leap low o'er the moat

and I come to protect your sleep

from the pallid idols of Hecate

from the circuit of ghosts.

Hour Zero.

In the moonlit whirlpool,

in circles of sorcery,

you are caught.

Your gaze clouded discerns me

from within your age,

the fog of smoke,

the cloud of death

(trichlorophenyl hexachlorophenyl

dioxin).

I am your faithful cat

Akhenaten

motionless frosted agate

illuminates the crystal of my eyes.

And I succour you with my seven lives

I send my gaze into your gaze,

vertical I nail it like a dagger,

and as ice slides into your marrow...

Hour Zero

I fathom with my seven lives

the abyss of human terror.


Wait still.

Wait until I melt all the metal

from the sarcophagus.

At Hour Zero

I prepare the antidote

for my seven poisoned lives

for the one and eternal:

your own.

Wait still.

Wait a little,

for my coldness

to rise up to your heart.

Videos from recital  in February 2009 including some of the  Melissanthi songs
Honey flowers - a suite for guitar duet based on the first four songs of Melissanthi

Full score of Honey flowers (opens new tab)


Complete electronic preview of  Honey Flowers  (lasting 11 minutes)

http://www.dwsolo.com/honeyflowers.mp3


Melissanthi, a poetess of Athens who died in 1991 and whose name means "bee flower", wrote many beautiful and thought provoking poems.  

David set five of these to music (as above)

Four of the melodies that they inspired went on to give birth to these expressive guitar duets.

The guitars are equal partners throughout, taking turns to accompany and to sing the melody lines.  The rhythms themselves are an idiosyncratic mix of English and Greek, but especially in the fast sections (1st and 5th movements) the typical 7/4 pervades the texture and should prove to be the rhythm that the audience will take away with them after the concert.


Video of Acacia from “Honey Flowers”


Honey Flowers Guitar duet  based on four  of these songs A Dark Goddess - based on Hour Zero - for flute and piano or flute and string orchestra A Dark Goddess Flute works  based  on Hour Zero

A Dark Goddess based on my setting of Hour Zero is a dramatic work for flute with either string orchestra or piano accompaniment:


Scores and parts (and mp3 previews) (from MusicaNeo):

With String orchestra

With Piano



=============================================== Melissanthi Songs For Alto and Guitar.  Published by Musik Fabrik. (mfdws021v)

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