The Last Night of the Proms 2015 opened with the unveiling of Jamaican-born composer Eleanor Alberga’s new work Arise, Athena! performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Chorus and Marin Alsop on Saturday 12 September 2015. Scored for large symphony orchestra and chorus, this stirring new work portrays the power of a strong and wise woman bringing harmony to a troubled world throughout its three intense minutes. The chorus - embodying all humanity - call on the goddess Athena to come to their aid, bringing the gifts of arts and wisdom to dispel their fear. Listen to the performance.
My main sources of inspiration come from spiritual and emotional forces, Greek mythology and other narratives, and nature. One of my priorities is to attempt to communicate with the audience, hopefully on a deep level.
The idea for ‘Arise, Athena!’ came from deciding to have a female theme to the work. Because of my interest in Greek mythology and because of the present conflicts and troubled state of the world, I immediately thought of this Goddess of wisdom and the Arts. If humanity held more wisdom and interest in the Arts and less greed for power, perhaps we would not be drawn into such extreme political circumstances.
This work lies within the most tonal spectrum of my music and the imagined narrative is as follows:
The world sleeps in innocence. The Gods and Goddesses are in their distant home and nature is calm. A strange force stirs, agitating the peace. Humanity calls on Athena to rise up and bring wisdom and music to the world. The danger is banished and everyone rejoices.