(Anger – Nymphs – Ironworks)
“Ah, a goddess I honour and revere is here in my house, she who saved me in my hour of agony, after my mother Hera, shamed by my lameness, threw me from Olympus. How I’d have suffered if Thetis and Eurynome, daughter of encircling Ocean, had not taken me to their breasts. Staying with them nine years in their deep cave, I worked away at fine ornaments; brooches and spiral bracelets, necklaces and rosettes; while round me the vast stream of Ocean flowed, seething with foam. Neither gods nor mortals knew, only Thetis and Eurynome who rescued me.”
Homer : «The Iliad », Book XVIII
How very moving is Hephaistos’s own account of his first steps in the world. First, cast off the top of Mount Olympus by his mother Hera, ashamed of her offspring’s deformity: then welcomed and sheltered by new mothers in the amniotic waters of the ocean; finally condemned as a captive in the heat of caves and volcanoes.
The musical evocation of the three stages of this mythological legend is found in the different movements of this work: the mother’s anger (or father’s as in another passage in Homer, it is Zeus himself who « throws » his son); the Nereides, nymphs of the calm sea who hide the poor soul beneath the liquid depths of the ocean; and the blazing anvil of the future master of the Cyclopes.
There is a version for a Trombone quartet and two percussions entitled Telluris, where the more material sub-titles (Rocks, Water, Cast iron) are a homage to the Earth’s magic and its mighty power, where the mountains, the seas and the fire in its entrails are successively evoked.