Antigone: Hymn to the Human Spirit for tenor and orchestra
Antigone: Hymn to the Human Spirit was composed in 1983 and was premiered in New York at Alice Tully Hall Lincoln Center by the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Peter Tiboris, with tenor Giorgio Aristo of the Hannover Opera as soloist on January 7, 1984. The piece is sung in the original classical Greek. The text “Ode 1” is taken from Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone, a moving poetic meditation on the action which takes place in the first act.
“Ode 1” celebrates the achievements of the human race, praising man’s conquests of the entire universe through his strength and mental power. It implies admiration for Antigone, who buries her brother to satisfy divine law. This courageous act, in defiance of human law, costs Antigone her life. Thus, there is an undercurrent of sadness in this Ode, as Sophocles illustrates the evil as well as the good inherent in man.