3 Sopranos, Male Choir, Orchestra (3212 4020 timp, 3 perc, hp, str)
Duration: 15 minutes
Commissioned by American Composers Orchestra, Underwood Emerging Composer Commission
Premiere: May 2006, Carnegie Hall, New York City
Myrrha is based on the myth from Ovid’s Metamorphosis about a young woman’s forbidden love. Because of her overwhelming beauty, Myrrha was cursed by Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to lust after her own father. Myrrha tragically succumbed to her passion, and in vengeance the gods transformed the remorseful Myrrha into the weeping myrrh tree. Today, the drops of sap harvested for the perfume myrrh are said to be the tears of Myrrha. The text of Myrrha is comprised of excerpts taken from Ovid’s Latin poem. The poetic fragments are woven together in non-narrative sequences and clusters, as though the listener passes through Myrrha’s dreams and memories of her incestuous desire. The music of Myrrha expresses lamentation, memories of lust, and regret.