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Orpheus in the Underworld

Orpheus in the Underworld

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Published by Tomy Nicholson

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Published by: Tomy Nicholson on Jun 24, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/17/2014

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Orpheus  in the Underworld 
For symphony orchestraBy
 
 PROGRAM NOTES
Orpheus’ wife, Eurydice, is dead. Even in the beauty of reality – the sun is shining, distant birds are singing, lifeis peaceful – he cannot rid himself of thoughts of his long lost wife and decides to try to convince Hades, King of theUnderworld, to let Eurydice come back to the realm of the living with him
.
With his harp, Orpheus descended into theUnderworld. Around him are the follies of the Underworld, ghostly souls, savage horses and wicked vultures, swoopingin at him; a normal mortal would have perished any number of times, but Orpheus had his harp and he charmed these beasts and Cerberus - the three-headed monster dog of Hades who guarded the Underworld – calming then, and theyletting him pass. Facing Hades and his cold Queen Persephone, he plays for them showing his sorrow at the loss of hislove. The heart that was frozen by Hades' abduction melted in Persephone’s breast and a tear rolled down her cheek.Even Hades could not help weeping. They let Orpheus through to Eurydice, but warn him very carefully: Eurydicewould follow him into the light of the world and once she entered the sunlight she would be changed from a shade back to a woman. But if Orpheus doubted, if he looked back to see her, she would be lost to him forever.Orpheus rejoices. He turns and leaves the dark hall of Hades and begins his ascent back to life. As he walked herejoiced that his wife would soon be with him again. He listens closely for her footfall behind him, but a shade makesno noise. The closer to the light he got, the more his excitement built and he began to believe that Hades had trickedhim to get him out of the Underworld; that Eurydice was not behind him. Only feet away from the light Orpheus lostfaith and turned around. He sees Eurydice, but only for a moment as her shade whisks back down among the other deadsouls. She was gone. Orpheus was crushed.Orpheus goes back to the reality of the realm of mortals, but thoughts of Eurydice and the Underworld plaguehim until madness finally takes his lonely soul, by which time, he will join his beloved in the Underworld.
 
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FluteOboeClarinet in B
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BassoonHorn in F 1Horn in F 2Trumpet in B
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TromboneTimpaniViolin 1Violin 2ViolaVioloncelloContrabassHarp
 
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Orpheus in the Underworld 
THOMAS NICHOLSON
For Symphony Orchestra
Andante cantabile

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