1985 ATHENA KERAMITIS for Contrabass-flute and bass clarinet

ATHENA KERAMITIS (1985) was written at the request of Harry Sparnaay and Harry Starreveld, who had just acquired a contrabass flute. It was a most interesting and attractive instrument so I set out to do my usual detailed research in order to get to grips with the array of effects that it was able to produce. Athena Keramitis became a sample-book of sound effects for which I tried to design a suitable musical context. All sorts of mixing and dialoguing, alternating with solo passages, take the music from one zone into another, now at odds with one another, now in agreement.

The title is from a work by John Ruskin, and means ‘Athena of the Earth’. It is a study of the relations of Athena to the vital force in material organisms: bird vs. serpent, air vs. earth, spirit vs. matter, etc.

Athena Keramitis (or Khepera) can be played as part of the cycle ECLIPSE, together with Gravity’s Dance, Aura and Heterostase. The opening bars of the composition are similar to and overlap the end of Gravity’s Dance. It enjoyed one performance by the Barton Workshop, when Jos Zwaanenburg played it on a bass flute, adding the lower octave with the help of an electronic device.