• Barry Guy
  • Eos (1977)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Written at the request of the Donaueschingen Festival, Baden-Baden

  • 4(2pic)44(2bcl)0/3331/timp.3perc/hp/str ( str (
  • Double Bass
  • 23 min

Programme Note


The dance explores five hours of deepest night. Sleepless, anguished, painful hours of mixed oppressiveness, waiting for a new day to dawn.


There are two versions of Eos - the version for Donaueschingen with orchestra, amplified strings and amplified double bass, and another for four-track tape, feedback and amplified double bass (Eos-X). The tape version arose out of the material that I was working on in the orchestral version and was completed midway during its composition. The two version represent opposite approaches to the same subject, for in Eos-X the double bass solo and the feedback are free, within prescribed limits, to execute their roles against a fixed tape background, whilst the orchestral version fixes all aspects of the material.

The source of Eos arose two years ago whilst on a short holiday in Brazil. I stayed for several days in a beach house near the small town of Ubatuba and here observed early one morning a spectacular unfolding of a new day. In the darkness I became aware of isolated activity in the tropical forest behind the house. It was already warm and humid, and through the still air came the sound of animals, birds and insects which gradually became more active and intense towards the dawn. As the sky grew lighter the tension mounted until suddenly the sun rose above the distant sea horizon flickering like a huge menacing ball of fire. Life erupted and I was transfixed by the energy unleashed. Eventually I walked away with the thought that I would express this moment. Eos became the vehicle. The work is not a tone-poem or a description of events, more a reflection and distillation of my thoughts at the time. Eos is the goddess of dawn.

© Barry Guy