Philip Armstrong



Hebe, for large chamber ensemble, is based around the Ancient Greek myth of Hebe and Ganymede. Zeus kept Hebe, goddess of youth, as his lover until captivated by the beauty of Ganymede. The god took the form of an eagle and transported the boy to Mount Olympus. Ganymede supplanted the goddess as Zeus’s beloved and cupbearer of the gods, while Hebe wed the immortalised Heracles. Each of the seven movements takes a work of art as a point of departure. The first and last movements are based around an ancient Athenian decorative design. Four of the movements make reference to sculptures of Ganymede and others by Bertel Thorvaldsen. The central movement, where Zeus abducts Ganymede and carries him away to Mount Olympus, is based upon an original drawing by F. Kirchbach which was used in an early twentieth century advertising campaign: the introduction of Budweiser to the Gods.

Midi recordings:

Prologue: a young musician performs for his erastes; Athenian red-figure drinking cup, ca. 460 BC. Louvre, Paris (mp3)

A shepherd boy and his dog tend the sheep on the meadows of Mount Ida; Bertel Thorvaldsen (mp3)

Zeus becomes enamoured by Ganymede’s beauty and approaches the boy as a great eagle; Bertel Thorvaldsen (mp3)

Zeus abducts Ganymede and lifts him away to Mount Olympus; Ad campaign: the introduction of Budweiser to the Gods, original drawing by F. Kirchbach 1892 (mp3)

Zeus casts Hebe aside and takes Ganymede as his beloved; Bertel Thorvaldsen (mp3)

Ganymede serves as cupbearer to the gods; Bertel Thorvaldsen (mp3)

Epilogue: Hebe weds Heracles and bestows eternal youth; Athenian red-figure pyxis ca. 5th BC. University of Pennsylvania Museum (mp3)