• John Tavener
  • Lament for Phaedra (1995)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Musical Passages, Athens Concert Hall

  • SopranoCello
  • 10 min

Programme Note

Phaedra, daughter of Minas and Pasiphae, was married to Theseus, but succumbed to an unconquerable passion for Hippolytus, son of Theseus and the Amazon Hippolyte. Hippolytus rejected her advances, so in revenge Phaedra told Theseus he had tried to seduce her. Theseus believed this, and with the help of Neptune contrived a dreadful death Hippolytus. Phaedra then confessed her crime, and hung herself in despair.

The single word Epoç (Eros) is sung by Phaedra’s sister Ariadne as a lament for her. This Greek word is charged with a profundity without equivalent in the English language, and every aspect of love and death is implicit in it. The performers should endeavor to interpret and explore all these meanings in the stark and simple music.

J.T.