Prometheus Bound

Michael Cryne ()

Prometheus Bound 2016

2222 - 2211 - perc(2) - harp - piano - strings
Duration 
8
Solist 
Genre 
Publisher 

Prometheus Bound takes its title from the ancient Greek drama commonly attributed to Aeschylus (c. 524 - c.456 BC). Prometheus was a titan who defied Zeus by stealing fire and thwarting Zeus' plans to destroy the human race. He was subsequently punished by being chained to a rocky mountain.

Most of the harmonic material has been created from a combination of Scriabin's 'Prometheus' or 'mystic' chord - pitches C, F♯, B♭, E, A and D and the scale from which it can be derived, known commonly as the overtone or acoustic scale. Almost all of the trombone's material is constructed from this scale (including transpositions onto each of the pitches of the Prometheus chord).

The broad structure of the drama is used to help shape the piece - various interlocutors: Oceanids, the Titan Oceanus, Io, and finally Hermes, interact with Prometheus. Rather than being programmatic, the piece instead is constructed around the idea of protagonist (trombone) and interlocutors (the ensemble) interacting. The character of each interaction is determined by the interlocutor. Hermes, for example, is hostile and aggressive, and the music reflects this; chromatic manipulations of the Prometheus chord create a substantial degree of harmonic instability, whereas the Oceanids are much more sympathetic to Prometheus' plight, and the harmonic 'flavour' of the overtone scale becomes much clearer.

Michael Cryne

Performances 
4.7.16 Royal College of Music, London: Mark Templeton (trombone) / London Philharmonic Orchestra / Magnus Lindberg
2
Flute
1st doubling piccolo
2
Oboe
2
Clarinet
1st doubling Eb clarinet
2
Bassoon
2nd contrabassoon
2
Horn
2
Trumpet
1
Trombone
1
Tuba
2
Percussion
glockenspiel, suspended cymbal, tam-tam, marimba, vibraphone, triangle, temple blocks, tom-tom, bass drum
3
Violin
2
Violin II
2
Viola
2
Cello
2
Double bass
1
Harp
1
Piano
doubling celeste
(Esc)