Commissioned by the Gregynog Festival

  • ob +
  • Oboe
  • 2 min 30 s

Programme Note

'Arachne' is based on Ted Hughes' retelling of the myth in his 'Tales from Ovid'. Arachne, a mortal and master weaver, is challenged to a contest of the goddess, Minerva. Minerva creates a work depicting the Olympian gods and their conquests over humans. Arachne fashions a scene of debauchery showing the Gods raping the deceiving humans. Arachne's weaving is flawless and Minerva is so outraged that she beats Arachne mercilessly. Arachne is so demoralised that she hangs herself. Minerva takes pity on her and turns her into a spider.

The opening of the miniature depicts Arachne's arrogance and assurance in her abilities. The middle section suggests the weaving contest between Minerva and Arachne. A freer episode attempts to show the violence of Minerva and suicide of Arachne. The quiet, enigmatic ending conveys the metamorphoses where Minerva turns Arachne into a spider.

Helen Grime