Six Riffs After Ovid | Michael Daugherty, composer

Six Riffs After Ovid
for solo oboe (2021)

Titus Underwood, oboe

2. BUDDY HOLLY (Phaeton)
4. JIM MORRISON (Bacchus)
5. PRINCE (Narcissus)
6. ARETHA FRANKIN (Arethusa)

Instrumentation: Oboe

Publisher: Michael Daugherty Music

World Premiere:
Bang on a Can Marathon, April 18, 2021  |  Commissioned by Bang on a Can

Program Note:

Six Riffs after Ovid (2021) for solo oboe was commissioned by Bang on a Can, and premiered on a Bang on a Can Marathon on April 18, 2021 by oboist Titus Underwood.

My composition is inspired by The Metamorphoses, written by the Roman poet Ovid in 8 AD. Like Six Metamorphoses after Ovid for solo oboe, composed in 1951 by the English composer Benjamin Britten, I have selected six characters from Ovid’s epic poem:

Pan, who played on a reed pipe; Phaeton, who rode the chariot of the sun and was struck down by a thunderbolt; Niobe, who lamented the death of her children and was turned into a mountain; Bacchus, who revelled at drunken feasts; Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image and turned into a flower;  and Arethusa, who was turned into a fountain.

Transforming these characters from classical mythology into icons from American mythology, the six movements of my composition are musical metamorphoses with a modern twist:

    1. Maceo Parker (Pan)
    2. Buddy Holly (Phaeton)
    3. Joni Mitchell (Niobe)
    4. Jim Morrison (Bacchus)
    5. Prince (Narcissus)
    6. Aretha Franklin (Arethusa)

~Program note by Michael Daugherty

Titus Underwood, oboe
Titus Underwood, oboe