Tears of Eros

Major Works, Orchestra

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 2.16.31 PMTears of Eros for orchestra (2,2,2,2; 4,3,3,1, hrp, piano, 4 perc, strings), was written in 2003. It was read by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, and later received the Macht Orchestra Prize and subsequent performance. The title refers to the book of the same name by Georges Bataille, in which the history of eroticism is explored as it relates to art throughout history.

Duration: 15:07

This piece was written about extensively by Gregory Hall in the 2008 issue of CRS (Contemporary Scores Review) journal.


“After initial orchestral flourishes utilizing skillfully and colorfully orchestrated modal clusters the texture contracts into a slow dirge for strings, building to a climax where wind textures become a modal blur creating large standing yet coruscating modal tone clusters. A section of ascending and descending tone clusters spaced out in the percussive instruments is permeated with melodic fragments in winds, strings, and brass which highlight the surrounding harmony. Beautiful unto themselves, these fragments; yet by highlighting particularly resonant places in the harmony they work melodically and harmonically with equal effectiveness, a kind of contrapuntal skill prized particularly by composers of the Baroque. This section gives way to its logical outcome: percussion instruments given improvisatory textures over the prevailing harmonies, and strings small canonic statements which, by remaining only short motives, serve to keep the percussion tone clusters in the forefront of the listener’s imagination by not calling too much attention to themselves—again a balance of melody and harmony worthy of the Baroque era. “

Listen to an excerpt of the piece:

  Peabody Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Erin Freeman, 2003 in honor of this piece winning the 2003 Macht Orchestra Prize.