William Bolcom's Prometheus: The Gift and the Curse of Fire

by John Birge, Minnesota Public Radio
October 7, 2011
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Pianist Jeffrey Biegel and VocalEssence play with matches

St. Paul, Minn. — It started with a simple request.

Pianist Jeffrey Biegel wanted a new piece for piano, chorus, and orchestra.

Beethoven wrote his Choral Fantasy for that combination; why not a companion piece?

Biegel asked the distinguished composer William Bolcom to compose the work.

Being a choral work, Bolcom needed words. He found them in Byron's poem Prometheus. Although Byron's poem is nearly two hundred years old, Bolcom finds in it a very contemporary -- and cautionary -- tale about modern technology.

To hear Bolcom and Biegel tell it, the torch of technology can save us, and it can kill us.

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