ENS.2023.3 | 15′


I. Song

II. Anabasis

III. Song


The ancient Greek term for a journey from a coastline to the interior, Anabasis is the title given to Xenophon’s famous history of the Ten Thousand marching in aid of Cyrus the Younger. Nearly 2500 years later, Nobel laureate Saint-John Perse chose the title Anabase for his great symbolic epic poem of exploration and foundation, which as translated by T. S. Eliot fired my imagination as a young man. The neoclassical mechanical pastoral of this piece was inspired, too, by Stravinsky’s later ballets, and although it follows no particular program, it is music for the dance. Proceeding in frieze-like blocks of asymmetrical sound like panels in a painting by Puvis de Chavannes, Anabasis is cast in three movements, two elegant attic chansons flanking a combative orchestral expedition.