violin and piano
First Performance
26.8.07, Presteigne Festival, UK: Sara Trickey/Gretel Dowdeswell

Score and part 0-571-57104-2 (fp) on sale

Programme Notes

1. Venus and Adonis 2. Death of Adonis 3. Metamorphosis In this piece written for her, Sara Trickey, who like me read Classics at university, asked if I could make some connection with Greek myth. George Vass asked if possible for the inclusion of a Welsh folksong. I was unable to think of a way of combining these two requests until I discovered the folksong 'Mae 'nghariad i'n Fenws' ('My love she's a Venus') and decided to base my piece on the myth of Venus and Adonis, whose culmination, Adonis’s rebirth as a symbol of Spring, is present in almost all mythologies, including Celtic. There are three short movements. The first begins with Adonis’s birth, out of a myrrh tree, and describes the goddess Venus's love for him: as in Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis I make Adonis (the piano) a reluctant lover, resisting Venus (the violin) until the end of the movement. The second enacts the boar hunt in which Adonis is killed, with classic hunting rhythms and the sounds of horns. Venus laments his death in a short postlude. (Much of this music was written while on holiday in the Italian Apennines, where, as I was told, boars are common in the local woods; perhaps fortunately, I didn't meet any.) In the third movement, Adonis is reborn, transformed into a flower, traditionally one of the Mediterranean species of anemone, with red petals coloured by his blood. The folksong appears at the very end, though in fact all the material of the piece is derived from it.

© David Matthews

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