RTC-50: 1978 Lament for Linos for Reciter, Flute, Clarinet and Piano

Text: Rainer Maria Rilke [recited on tape]
Commission:Canada Council and Music Inter Alia
Premiere:1979-10-22, Music Inter Alia, Jan Kocman, flute, Theodore Oien, clarinets,
Diana McIntosh, piano
Other: 1985-05-06, Heidi Geddert, reciter, Patricia Spencer, flute, Richard Klassen, clarinet, Annele Ens Robertson, piano. Aurora Musicale, Winnipeg
1985-02-10, Eva Clare Hall, U of Manitoba
Publication: CMC


Linos is an ancient Greek deity whose legend assumed a variety of forms linking him with Adonis, Apollo and Orpheus; he was associated with nature-worship and the origin of music. According to one account, when Linos died the Void caused by his death was so startled that its trembling amazement was called music. In another account the lament or dirge for Linos is related to music’s origin because those who were numbed by his death were reawakened by the song of Orpheus. Linos’ songl, a dirge for departing summer, is found in Homer’s Iliad (XVIII-570).
The third “panel” features the final verse of the First Elegy from Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). The translation below is by A. Poulin, Jr.:

At last, those who left too soon don’t need us anymore; we’re weaned from the things of this earth as gently as we outgrow our mother’s breast. But we, who need such great mysteries, whose source of blessed progress so often is our sadness – could we exist without them? Is the story meaningless, how once during the lament for Linos, the first daring music pierced the barren numbness, and in that stunned space, suddenly abandoned by an almost godlike youth, the Void first felt that vibration which charms and comforts and helps us now?