The Sybil of Cumae

Genre: Solo voice and ensemble: mezzo, flute (doubling alto and picc), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), piano, percussion, violin, cello, double bass

Description: A song cycle dramatising the plight of the legendary oracle the Sibyl of Cumae, using intense harmonies and percussive effects to set Tom Lowenstein's poem
Duration: 12 minutes
Date: 2001

Programme Note

The Sibyl of Cumae is a work in eight sections, treating different aspects of the Sibyl's mind and history, though together these scenes or panels might represent, or appear to represent, one skein. At the centre of each scene there is some narrative and/or drama, though the text itself is in varying degrees fragmentary and allusive. One unifying element is the Sibyl of Cumae's preoccupation with time.

This setting, for mezzo and mixed ensemble, of eight short monologues for the visionary priestess of Apollo, is big and bold, responding to the scholar and poet Tom Lowenstein’s gritty and economical text with music unafraid of a direct emotional response...
— Keith Potter, The Independent, 23 May 2001