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for mixed chamber ensemble

Composer:   John Psathas


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Draped in the skins of fawns, crowned with wreaths of ivy and carrying the thyrsos - a staff wound with ivy leaves and topped with a pine cone - the Maenads roamed the mountains and woods, seeking to assimilate the potency of the beasts that dwelled there and celebrating their god Dyonisos with song, music and dance.

The human spirit demands Dionysiac ecstasy; to those who accept it, the experience offers spiritual power. For those who repress the natural force within themselves, or refuse it to others, it is transformed into destruction, both of the innocent and the guilty. When possessed by Dionysos, the Maenads became savage and brutal. They plunged into a frenzied dance, obtaining an intoxicating high and a mystical ecstasy that gave them unknown powers, making them the match of the bravest hero.

John Psathas

Performance history

25 Apr 2004: Performed by Manos Achalinotopoulos, Vangelis Karipis and the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble at Paradiso, in Amsterdam

29 May 2009: Composer of the Week: John Psathas: Friday
Featuring: Radio New Zealand Concert

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