buried in leaves... blessed sleep...

The title comes from the Fagles translation of Homer's, The Odyssey, 5:497-548. The work is about finding peace. it begins violently with a chord consisting of seven pitches. Two different melodic fragments derived from these pitches are heard in succession by the cellos. Through the rest of the piece, these melodic fragments interact, creating different moments as the harmony becomes simultaneously more and less chromatically saturated. The music sublimates, finding its own peace.

Homer, The Odyssey, 5:497-548

translation, Fagles

So the man prayed

and the god stemmed his current, held his surge at once

an smoothing out the swells before Odysseus now,

drew him safe to shore at the river's mouth.

His knees buckled, massive arms fell limp,

the sea had beaten down his striving heart.

His whole body swollen, brine aplenty gushing

out of his mouth and nostrils-breathless, speechless,

there he lay, with only a little strength left in him,

deathly waves of exhaustion overwhelmed him now...

But once he regained his breath and rallied back to life,

at last he loosed the goddess' scarf from his body,

dropped it into the river flowing out to sea

and a swift current bore it far downstream

and suddenly Ino caught it in her hands.

Struggling up from the banks, he flung himself

in the deep reeds, he kissed the good green earth

and addressed his fighting spirit, desperate still:

"Man of misery, what next? Is this the end?

If I wait out a long tense night by the banks,

I fear the sharp frost and the soaking dew together

will do me in - I'm bone-weary, about to breath my last,

and a cold wind blows from a river on toward morning.

But what if I climb that slope, go for the dark woods

and bed down in the thick brush? What if I'm spared

the chill, fatigue, and a sweet sleep comes my way?

I fear wild beasts will drag me off as quarry."

But this was the better course, it struck him now,

He set out for the woods and not far from the water

found a grove with a clearing all around an dcrawled

beneath two bushy olives sprung from the same root,

one olive wild, the other well-bred stock.

No sodden gusty winds could ever pierce them,

nor could the sun's sharp rays invade their depths,

nor could a downpour drench them through and through,

so dense they grew together, tangling side-by-side.

Odysseus crept beneath them, scraping up at once

a good wide bed for himself with both hands.

A fine litter of dead leaves had drifted in,

enough to cover two men over, even three,

in the wildest kind of winter known to man.

Long-enduring great Odysseus, overjoyed at the sight,

bedded down in the midst and heaped the leaves around him.

As a man will bury his glowing brand in black ashes,

off on a lonely farmstead, no neighbors near,

to keep a spark alive - no need to kindle fire

from somewhere else - so great Odysseus buried

himself in leaves and Athena showered sleep

upon his eyes... sleep in a swift wave

delivering him from all his pains and labors,

blessed sleep that sealed his eyes at last.


3 flutes (flute 2 doubles piccolo)

2 oboes

English horn

2 b-flat clarinets

b-flat bass clarinet

2 bassoons


4 f horns (horns 2 and 4 play pitched crystal glasses)

3 c trumpets (all three trumpets play pitched crystal glasses)

2 tenor trombones

bass trombone (all three trombones play pitched crystal glasses)

tuba (tuba plays a pitched crystal glass)


percussion 1 (vibraphone, crotales, marimba, suspended cymbal, large tam tam, small tam tam

percussion 2 (chimes, crotales, marimba, suspended cymbal, large tam tam, small tam tam

percussion 3 (bass drum, glockenspiel, crotales)

2 harps

piano/celesta (one player)

strings ( minimum stands)

Notes - where crystal glass doubling, cannot be accommodated, an alternate orchestration is available.