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Robert Xavier Rodríguez

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Forbidden Fire, Cantata for the Next Millennium (1998)
Text Writer
Aeschylus, Lucretius, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Blake, Schiller, Beethoven, Shelley, Millay, and others
G Schirmer Inc
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
22 Minutes
Double SATB chorus
English, German
Solo Instrument(s)
Bass Baritone
Programme Note
Robert Xavier Rodríguez Forbidden Fire, Cantata for the Next Millennium (1998)
With the approaching millennium and the very timely events of the 50th anniversary of the atomic bomb and the recent scientific breakthroughs in cloning, the Prometheus story seems very topical for our times. Questions arising about man playing God and the re-awakening of Frankenstein all come together, as man tries not only to discover the secrets of life and death, but tries to uncover the ultimate mystery of controlling one's self. Conceived as a companion piece to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Forbidden Fire is a 22-minute exploration of dangerous or forbidden knowledge, as represented by the Promethean metaphor of stealing fire from the gods. Fragments of works by Aeschylus, Lucretius, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Schiller, Beethoven, Percy and Mary Shelley and Edna St. Vincent Millay are intercut with writings from an Egyptian temple, the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible to trace the exhilaration as well as the serious consequences of man's eternal quest for knowledge.

—Robert Xavier Rodríguez

  • Ensemble
    University of Miami Symphoniy Orchestra, University of Miami Chorale, Miami Children's Chorus
    George Cordes (Baritone)
    Thomas M. Sleeper
    Albany Records:
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