Paean, Epitaph & Dithyramb by Jeremy Gill comes in three movements, each musing on Greek characters and poetic forms. Contemplating on past and future, Gill quotes older composers and styles without losing his own voice, instead presenting a rapidly shifting exploration of past, present, and future.
– Adam O’Dell, writing for I Care if You Listen, 2 April 2020
Paean, Epitaph, and Dithyramb is a set of three instrumental movements excerpted from Ode (2008). Ode is an exploration of Greek lyric poetic forms: the dithyramb, honoring Dionysus; and the paean, Apollo. These, together with the ode and hymn (heard with mezzo-soprano in the complete Ode), constituted the principal lyric poetic forms of Ancient Greece.
An epitaph was, as now, an inscription or eulogy to one deceased. In this work, it is given by the flute alone—an extended solo bordered by movements for the full ensemble of flute (doubling piccolo), ʽcello, and piano.
There are echoes of other musics throughout Paean, Epitaph, and Dithyramb: bits of Monteverdi (Orfeo), Puccini (Tosca), Mahler (Rückert Lieder), and others. Each of these is fragmented, as if each were being heard centuries from now, in part, without context, their meanings largely obscured and only sensed, not known.