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  1. Invocation

From the recording Invocation

Legend for Orchestra (Complete Ballet in 12 tableaux)
On an island made of erupting volcanic fire in the middle of a vast, stormy frozen lake in the center of the world there dwelled Grandfather Time, named Chronos, and his ancient wife, Coronis the Crone of Crows, or She-Who-Sees-Where-He-Goes, in the language the sacred hierophantic bards. They have a daughter and a son who are set by their parents to govern the Earth in alternating seasons and between them balance the evil onslaughts of Autumn degeneration, cruel Winter and death with the regeneration of rebirth brought in by Spring and the abundance of harvest in the late Summer.
Their daughter is called Xystalwynde, the White-haired Witch of the Winter Snows, who changes her shape with the waxing and waning of the moon, dwells high up in rocky crags where eagles dare not nest, and who rides on the winged black spectral horse called Night Mare. With her eyes that flash with blue flame and her lips red as rowanberries, she is the most beautiful woman in creation, but the most intemperate and prone to anger and violence, especially when she seeks to wreak vengeance. Some have heard her cries by night on baleful winds, a sound that causes the skin to crawl, the eyes to water, hair to stand on end, sending shivers of fear down the spine, freezing motionless those who witness her presence into a paralysis of fear. The brother of Xystalwynde is the Sun God, who for all his apparent brilliance acts only in darkest mystery. He is master of mystery, wisdom, and is sagacious, deliberate and well-tempered in all things. His true name is not known, he is referred to only in silent, reverent meditation. He appears in the flesh as the ugliest man in existence, bent of frame and form into a shape most unnatural. He rides the chariot of the sun, none can survive the overpoweringly hideous sight of his celestial procession.
The music of the Invocation calls upon these entities to hear the entreaties of the supplicant masses, and to prepare for the reenactment of the myth of the Sun King, whose life and subsequent sacrifice is executed to placate the wrath of the Moon Goddess, and whose blood fertilizes the Earth in the name of the Sun God to bring beneficent providence into the world of mortal men.
 High upon a mountain within sight of the Frozen Lake of Fire, above the misty clouds and torrential rains, past where trees or even grasses grow and where only the raging winds of time inhabit deep caverns of ice, there is set the Singing Cauldron of Inspiration, heated by an inextinguishable fire brought from the heart of the Earth. An old witch named Cerridwen with hooked nose, bent back, haggard visage and a scraggly many-colored tangle of live snakes for hair tends this cauldron, which must be kept on the simmer for a seven years and a day, without which all knowledge would vanish from the world. Season by season, certain magical herbs must be gathered and added to the brew in their correctly appointed planetary hours. At the end of seven years, the cauldron begins to sing. It is the song of the old King as his reign draws to its end and the funeral march of his dirge as he is put to death. The child Gwion, chosen as heir apparent, is given the task of stirring the cauldron as it heats to a boil. Towards the end of the cycle, three burning drops fly out of the cauldron and fall on Gwion’s thumb as he stirs the cauldron. He instinctively thrusts his thumb into his mouth to ease the burning pain, and at once understands the nature and meaning of all things, past, present and future. He then also knows that unless he can escape, it will be his destiny to die on the sacrificial pyre as all who have preceded him on the Sun King’s throne.
Gwion fled away, as fast as he could, pursued by the screaming ancient old hag. Through The Chase that ensues, by summoning the powers drawn from the cauldron, he changes himself into a rabbit, upon which she changes herself into a wolf. He plunges into a river and became a trout, but she changes into an otter fast upon his tail. He flew up into the air as a bird, as she changes into a hawk. Finally he changes into a single grain of winnowed wheat on the threshing floor of a barn. Silently he lay, at first undetected, when she transforms herself into a black hen, and scratching the wheat over with her feet, finds him and swallows him at once.
When the witch Cerridwen returned to her own shape, she found herself pregnant of Gwion, and nine months later bore him as a child. Upon The Rebirth of Gwion, Cerridwen could not find it in her heart to kill him, because he was very beautiful, so she laid him high on a cliff at the altar of the Moon Goddess, tied in a leather bag, where the winds of time blew him off into the sea. Gwion remained Adrift At Sea until two days before May Day when carried by dolphins, he came into the weir of Prince Elphin of Aberystwyth. There upon the shore, to the astonishment of the Prince, he recited a secret incantation, conjuring up a magical wind that whispered mysterious rhyme with an invisible voice. Finding him thus possessed of magical powers, Elphin renamed him Taliesin, the title by which he was evermore known.
Hearing of the miraculous magical powers of Taliesin, and recognizing him as the child-heir to the Sun King’s throne and therefore a mortal threat to himself, King Maelgwyn of Gwynedd sent his soldiers to capture Taliesin. This they did to the cadence of the Processional March. They led him off in chains to the dungeon at Dyganwy where along with Prince Elphin he was imprisoned. Knowing that it was prophesized that his reign would end in his own death after a period of seven years, King Maelgwyn determined to offer Taliesin in his stead as a surrogate sacrifice, hoping by this means to placate the Moon Goddess and thereby
cheat death. He caused a great sacrificial funeral pyre to be built, stacked high with wood and stoked by burning embers taken from a fir tree, still smoldering from a Winter’s storm lightning strike. The people of Gwynedd leapt in a furious Sacrificial Fire Dance as Taliesin was brought enmeshed in a wicker cage to the edge of the pyre.
Just as the flames reached their highest intensity, and he was about to be tossed like a piece of kindling on the burning fire and be engulfed by the ferocious heat, Taliesin uttered some magic words, conjuring the Winds of Time. The searing flames were instantly extinguished as the wind blew through the great pyre, and all the people were frozen in place as they stood. The sycophantic bards of the Council of Elders attempted to dispel the enchantment but could only muster meaningless noises.
The High Priest alone was able to move amid the spell that was cast, and knowing what he must do, threw his staff on the ground in front of Taliesin. It thereupon changed into the shape of a great snake, coiling threateningly, and rearing up with a fearful hiss, spoke to Taliesin in words only he could hear, “Can you answer The Riddle of the Oracular Serpent?” As soon as Taliesin answered the correct mysterious formula in secret words only audible to the snake, the flames of the pyre roared back into life, and the serpent disappeared into fire to the sound of drums pounding an inexorable rhythm. King Maelgwyn was seized by his own soldiers and thrown without ceremony on the burning maelstrom, and led by the High Priest and the Council of Elders, Taliesin was proclaimed Sun King, who will reign for a period of seven years. All join in a great Bacchanal in celebration of the preservation of order in the Universe.
The first full-length performance of the Legend was given in Nov. 2007 with the composer conducting the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra.


The first full-length performance of the Legend was given in Nov. 2007 with the composer conducting the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra.