Our Classical Century continues with Birtwistle's Panic, written for the Proms in 1995, a work taking its inspiration from the Classical god Pan.
Our Classical Century continues with Birtwistle's 'Panic' written for the Last Night of the Proms in 1995. A work taking its inspiration from the Classical god 'Pan' and the worship of Dionysus. The followers of Dionysus were particularly known for their religious rites fuelled by plenty of wine and debauchery that have come down to us across the ages with the title 'Bacchanales' (after 'Bacchus' the Roman version of Dionysus). These would reach a level of intoxication and emotional excess approaching ecstasy and even terror.
There was also a calmer, more reflective side to Pan as he is often depicted with his 'Pan Pipes', made from the transfigured 'Syrinx' according to Ovid's Metamorphoses.
So in tonight's MixTape we have both aspects, Debussy looking for Syrinx with piano and solo flute and the others choosing the more energetic path, whether it's Nielsen, Saint-Saëns or Jaques Ibert, all begun by Harrison Birtwistle's 'Panic'.