Orphic Songs (2016) 20′


Commissioned by The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir with support from Det Norske Komponistfond.

First performed August 20, 2016 in Oslo (N), by The Norwegian Soloists´ Choir conducted by Grete Pedersen.


Orphism (Ancient Greek: Ὀρφικά) is the name given to a set of religious beliefs and practices originating in the Ancient Greek and the Hellenistic world, as well as by the Thracians, associated with literature ascribed to the mythical poet Orpheus, who descended into Hades and returned.

Orphics also revered Persephone (who annually descended into Hades for a season and then returned) and Dionysus or Bacchus (who also descended into Hades and returned). Orpheus was said to have invented the Mysteries of Dionysus. Poetry containing distinctly Orphic beliefs has been traced back to the 6th century BC or at least 5th century BC, and graffiti of the 5th century BC apparently refers to «Orphics». (Source: Wikipedia)

Orphic Songs use texts from two different sources. Prologue and Rite include fragments from the Orphic Rhapsodies, Hymn to Sleep and Hymn to Death are set to two of the Orphic Hymns. The English translations of the Rhapsodies are taken from Orpheus and Greek Religion by W. K. C. Guthrie (Princeton University Press, 1952), the Orphic Hymns are translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis (The Orphic Hymns, The John Hopkins University Press, 2013). Thanks to Professor Pär Sandin at Bergen University for great help tracing the original ancient Greek texts and transcribing them into the Latin alphabet.