ClSt / ComL 200:
Notes and Supplements: Monday, April 22

Myth and Modernism


Over the past few weeks we have been considering trends in the analysis of myth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This week we will take a brief look at a few of the ways in which the Greek myths have been received and adapted by twentieth century artists particularly those working in literary and musical forms.

Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex (1927)

Igor Stravinsky (1882 - 1971), a Russian composer who spent most of his working life in France, is one of the central figures of the modernist movement. His Rite of Spring is one of the most important musical compositions of the early twentieth century. Oedipus Rex is regarded as one of the most important works of his "classiciszing" period, which saw the composition of the ballet Apollo Musagetes, the melodrams Persephone, and the ballet Orpheus.

Gide's Theseus (1946)

Cheever's Metamorphoses (c. 1970)

Telson and Breuer's The Gospel at Colonus (1983)

This work, which enjoyed a successful run on Broadway and an extensive nationwide tour before becoming the subject of a TV documentary in the PBS "Great Performances" series, "reconceives" (in the words of the score itself) "Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus as a parable-like sermon on the ways of fate and particularly on a happy death. It is set in a Black Pentacostal church. The congregation performs the Invocation ("Live Where You Can") and as the Ministers narrate, portions of the story come to life.
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