After Alcyon's Dream (Wallach, Joelle)




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Joelle Wallach (2018/11/13)

Publisher Info. Joelle Wallach
Performers Joelle Wallach
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Joelle Wallach (2018/11/12)

PDF typeset by composer
Joelle Wallach (2018/11/12)

Publisher. Info. Joelle Wallach
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Work Title After Alcyon's Dream
Alternative. Title
Composer Wallach, Joelle
I-Catalogue NumberI-Cat. No. IJW 3
Movements/SectionsMov'ts/Sec's 2 movements
Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp. 2003
First Performance. 2005
Average DurationAvg. Duration 9 minutes
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Modern
Piece Style Early 20th century
Instrumentation clarinet, viola, piano
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Ovid first recorded the myth of Ceyx and Alcyone: While Ceyx, was away at sea, Alcyone, his young wife, had a nightmare-premonition of his death. From that night on, she slept on shore hoping for Ceyx’s return. One night, his body washed up beside her. Alcyone’s grief was so great and her desire to be with Ceyx so intense, that she threw herself into the sea to join him.

Out of compassion, the gods transformed Alcyone and Ceyx into a pair of kingfishers so that they could be together again forever, flying just above the water. Alcyone’s father - Aeolus or Neptune - decreed that, to protect the couple’s annual nest, the winds were forbidden to blow for a week around the winter solstice. And so the brooding time of the kingfisher is a time of calm seas called the "Halcyon Days," an expression which has come more generally to mean a peaceful time.

Although some years a winter respite does not come, and kingfishers do not really nest right on water; the story of Ceyx and Alcyone is a myth with a truth of its own. Joelle Wallach’s trio After Alcyon’s Dream takes us into that private mythological realm where serene communion arrives as balm for nightmarish loss.