Jane Minns of the Berkshire Recorder Consort|
introduced me to Alcaïcs during a workshop with Paul Clark
, its composer. This was written for the London S.R.P. Playing Day, 17th July, 1993. For a full hour, Paul delighted us going into the finer points of his work. To give in words, the flavour, wit and elegance of this piece, I could do no better than to reproduce Paul's own words taken from the rear cover of his sheet music.
Alcaïcs, by Paul Clark
I first met Alcaïcs in a Samuel Butler reader, in chapter 44 of The way of All Flesh
. They are a form of poetic stanza used much by Alcaeus
, a lyric poet of the 7th-6th centuries BC, born at Mytilene in Lesbos, a contemporary of Sappho.
The form of the stanza was
as for instance in
|On reading through the tales of Odysse-us,|
|I couldn't understand the enormous fuss|
|That's mode of this heroic roamer,|
|Nor the honour heaped on Homer|
My Alcaïcs is based on this rhythm, falsely, because Greek scansion was quantitative, depending on the sounded length of the syllables, not their accentuation. But I wrote the music anyway!
Paul Clark: June 1996.