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Karel Husa

Publisher: AMP

Apotheosis of this Earth (for chorus and orchestra) (1972)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
26 Minutes
SATB Chorus

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Score Score

Programme Note
Karel Husa Apotheosis of this Earth (for chorus and orchestra) (1972)
Composer Note:

The composition of Apotheosis of this Earth was motivated by the present desperate stage of mankind and its immense problems with everyday killings, war, hunger, extermination of fauna, huge forest fires, and critical contamination of the whole environment.

In the first movement, "Apotheosis," the earth first approaches as a point of light in the universe. Our memory and imagination approach it in perhaps the same way as it appeared to the astronauts returning from the moon. The earth grows larger and larger, and we can even remember some of its tragic moments (as struck by the xylophone near the end of the movement).

The second movement, "Tragedy of Destruction," deals with the actual brutalities of man against nature, leading to the destruction of our planet, perhaps by radioactive explosion. The earth dies as a savagely, mortally wounded creature.

The last movement is a "Postscript", full of the realization that so little is left to be said: the earth has been pulverized into the universe, the voices scattered into space. Toward the end, these voices -- at first computer-like and mechanical -- unite into the words "this beautiful earth", simply said, warm and filled with regret…and one of so many questions comes to our minds: "Why have we let this happen?"

-- Karel Husa

  • Ensemble
    The Louisville Orchestra / University of Louisville Concert Choir
    Karel Husa
[Apotheosis of this Earth] is exactly the kind of thing, it would seem, everyone has been looking for to "reach" those hard-to-reach "young people" who are supposed to be getting more and more alienated from "serious" music....Real gut's a knockout. [It] has everything — power, passion, mysticism, even peace and ecology....Wow!
Richard Freed, High Fidelity/Musical America,01/01/0001
...a stark musical depiction of the shameless way man has used and abused our planet for his own selfish ends. Husa [projects] his dour message with gripping force.
John Schneider, The Atlanta Journal,01/01/0001
[Apotheosis] is a work of terrifying intensity, a prolonged scream of anguish.... Within the short space of less than 30 minutes, Husa shapes a vast sound picture of our planet.... The basic material from which this frightening tone poem is constructed is astonishingly simple — long, bleak, bare, non-vibrato horizontal lines; increasingly complex percussion; unremitting dissonance contrasted with unisons; agonizingly slow crescendos....Despite its technical difficulty, Apotheosis has become a smash hit on the band circuit.... In its orchestral garb, it could well become equally popular.
Irving Lowens, The Star and News (Washington, DC),01/01/0001
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