Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, op. 49, by Benjamin Britten, 1951.
Britten composed this work for solo oboe for the oboist Joy Boughton who premiered the piece at the Aldeburgh festival in 1951. The 6 movements are programmatic in both their suggestive titles and musical devices. For example, the first movement, “Pan: who played upon the reed pipe which was Syrinx, his beloved,” uses a free rhythm to evoke the mythological character. In the second movement, “Phaethon, who rode upon the chariot of the sun for one day and was hurled into the river Padus by a thunderbolt” Britten composed a fast, moving rhythm to represent the flying chariot. Britten used the expressive marking piagendo or “weeping” for the third movement “Niobe who, lamenting the death of her fourteen children, was turned into a mountain.” The remaining movements are: (4) “Bacchus, at whose feasts is heard the noise of gaggling women's tattling tongues and shouting out of boys,” (5) ”Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image and became a flower” and (6) “Arethusa, who, flying from the love of Alpheus the river god, was turned into a fountain.”
Attribution: Naxos Music Library