“It’s been a blast for me and the musicians to work on this piece!” Anna Edwards — music director of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra — gives an enthusiastic peek into the ensemble’s upcoming November 18th West Coast premiere of Leanna Primiani’s Sirens. Based after Homer’s classic “The Odyssey,” the ten-minute work premiered in 2008 at the Nashville Symphony, led by Leonard Slatkin.
Primiani talks about her inspiration. “In Greek mythology, The Sirens were sisters who were half-female and half-bird who lived on an [isolated] island…they would sing to sailors to lure them to their deaths and eat them…It was rumored that The Sirens would die when a ship passed by them unharmed…Odysseus and his men, on their way home from the Trojan War, needed to pass [The Siren’s] island…He had been warned [about] The Sirens’ beautiful song and to make sure his men’s ears were blocked with wax. However, Odysseus wanted to hear [it] himself, so he instructed his crew to tie him up until they were out the harm’s way. When Odysseus heard The Sirens singing, he begged his men to release him, but they bound him tighter until they had sailed past…Once Odysseus succeeded in escaping, The Sirens flung themselves into the depths of the sea and descended into Hades.”
Anna Edwards continues her reflections on Sirens. “From my perspective, Sirens feels like a 3D soundscape – the listener can almost feel and see the sound textures as they pass. Some of the musicians’ comments about it include ideas like ‘very sensory’ and ‘entrancing.’ It is challenging, but, extremely interesting [and] I love how the piccolo is The Siren! Leanna has written a terrific pictorial composition with driving rhythmic and cinematic flare.”