Orpheus’ Harp

This piece was commissioned by the Bartók Béla National Concert Hall in Budapest and was performed on February 10, 2010 by Szabolcs Brickner, tenor, Kristóf Baráti, violin, László Fassang, organ, Kinga Kolarics, harp and Tamás Schlanger and Boglárka Fábri on percussion instruments. 

The form of the piece is a symmetric cantata modeled after the visual interpretation of Dante's inferno. The text is one of the latest poems by the Polish-American poet Czeszlav Milosz, Orpheus and Eurydice. 

In the opening scene Orpheus is faced with his own weakness when descending into Hell through elevators and glass-paneled doors:


then Orpheus (or Milosz himself) is reflecting upon his human condition and his special place in society as a poet/musician:

Finally, he reaches the bottom of Hell in a quite desolate place where he encounters many souls without memories and personalities:

At the next section he has recourse to his music, as he is confronted with eternal darkness:

At the center of the cantata is the song of Orpheus that convinces the Gods to release Eurydice :

The path upwards is a bit humorous as Orpheus tries to find out whether she is behind him by stopping and listening to her steps:


Watch the entire performance: