Maw, Nicholas : The Head of Orpheus


Nicholas Maw’s The Head of Orpheus (1992) is a 6-minute setting of a poem by the American poet Robert Kelly for high Vocal & Choral and two clarinets. Written for Mary Wiegold and the Composers Ensemble, the score is prefaced by a chord from Act III Scene 4 of Berg’s Wozzeck and it is this source that provides the work with much of its harmonic and melodic material. Like Orpheus himself the vocal line wanders in an almost detached manner around the predominantly arabesque-like clarinet lines (the Maenads of the myth), lending to the work a further dramatic level. Following a return to the opening clarinet material, an almost disinterested parlando passage for Vocal & Choral brings the work to a sudden close.

SKU: 9780571553112 Category:

Additional information


Faber Music



Primary composer/editor/arranger

Maw, Nicholas

Published date



Soprano Vocal & Choral, Clarinet