Georgia Kalodiki


Brief Odyssey (2007)

for 4 singers and 5 instrumentalists (commissioned for Acanthes 2007)

Duration: 9 min

Brief Odyssey PDF

The Odyssey (Greek "Οδ���ƒ�ƒÎµÎ¹Î±" (Od�sseia) is one of the two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to the Ionian poet Homer. The poem is commonly dated circa 800 to circa 600 BC. The poem is, in part, a sequel to Homer's Iliad and mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses in Latin which is what the Romans called him after they were told of his journeys) and his long journey home to Ithaca, following the fall of Troy.

It takes Odysseus nine years to reach Ithaca after the nine-year Trojan War.[1] During this absence, his son Telemachus and his wife Penelope must deal with a group of unruly suitors who have moved into Odysseus' home to compete for Penelope's hand in marriage, since most have assumed that Odysseus has died. The first verse resumes the theme of the poem:

Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home; but do what he might he could not save his men, for they perished through their own sheer folly in eating the cattle of the Sun-god Hyperion; so the god prevented them from ever reaching home. Tell me, too, about all these things, O daughter of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them.

In Homeric song the performer has to accommodate the accentual rises and falls of the individual words to the melodic contour which results from syntactical and metrical features. Odyssey is divided in three parts (Telemachie, books I-IV), Ulysseus' narrations books V-XII, Ulysseus' revenge, books XIII-XXIV).

The libretto of Brief Odyssey is constructed by fragments of the books I,IX,X,XI. The work is divided in 7 subsections according to the plot.

The four voices are changing characters and they also work as a chorus with the ancient meaning of the word (ancient tragedy, Choros). Music is programmatic and harmony is based to an ancient tetrachord intermingled with its transpositions and transformations creating clusters of sound.