A world premiere of Dylan Mattingly's musical setting of the ecstatic and terrifying choruses from Euripides’ Bakkhai, in Ancient Greek, with narration by Thomas Bartscherer. Followed by a panel discussion about The Bakkhai and the music of Ancient Greece, by panelists Lauren Curtis (Bard), Helene Foley (Barnard College), and Daniel Mendelsohn (Bard).
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | 7:00 pm
Presented by The Bard College Classical Studies Program
Chapel of the Holy Innocents, Bard College
Free and Open to the Public
The Bakkhai is a thirty-minute musical composition for voices and instrumental ensemble, inspired by composer Dylan Mattingly's careful study of the lyrics and rhythmic structure of the choral odes in Euripides' final play, The Bakkhai (or, The Bacchae).
Recreating aspects of Euripides' tragedy in this new work, Mattingly has based the rhythm of his Bakkhai on the complex patterns of long and short syllables that constitute the meter of Euripides' choral odes. The piece is written in "just intonation," the method of tuning that would have been used in fifth century Athens. Unlike "equal temperament," the dominant system of tuning in western music over the last few centuries, "just intonation" relies on the mathematics of the natural world to derive pitches from their organic relation to other pitches. For this piece, Mattingly has re-tuned a keyboard using just intonation and has specified that the other instruments be tuned to accord with the piano. The Bakkhai is scored for four voices, two oboes, cello, bass, re-tuned piano, and two percussionists. The lyrics comprise all the lines of the seven choruses of Euripides' play, sung in ancient Greek.