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(Rocks, Water, Cast iron)
“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 rocks of the divine mountain – down which the newborn tumbled, the deep waters of the ocean under which the Nereides hide the poor thing, the cast iron blazing under the puffing bellows of the anvil.
There is a version for a one Trombone quartet (without percussions) entitled Légendes, where the subtitles (Anger – Nymphs – Ironworks) simply summarize the poetic program.