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by Costas Dafnis

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duet for spaced oboes


The aulos was a double-reeded ancient Greek wind instrument famously played in mythology by the satyr Marsyas. There are two stories, the first that Marsyas came across an aulos which Athena had discarded after the Olympians mocked her embouchure, and the other recounting a competition of musical mastery which pit his aulos against Apollo’s lute. Both stories agree and end in Marsyas’ death, with the more colorful accounts detailing his skin being nailed to the pine trees from which his instrument was fashioned.

Though both linear and melodic, structurally the piece is a short experiment in challenging symmetry. The oboists recount individual versions of Marsyas’ story. To this end they are spaced to enhance both their points of narrative agreement and disagreement.


Ashley Ertz and Rachael Swanson, oboes



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Costas Dafnis San Francisco, California

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