Philip Armstrong

Symphony 2: Helen in Weimar


Introduction by Philip Armstrong (mp3).

The Second Symphony explores the place of the mythical Helen of Troy in the Weimar tradition, in particular as expressed in the Second Part of Goethe's Faust. Mephistopheles says of Helen, "To tread, conjuring Helen out of time like phantom paper-money from the air. Easy, you think? – Witches I can supply, ghost-goblins, changelings, curious succubae. But Satan-sweethearts, though quite charming in their way, can’t pass for Homer’s heroines even today." Faust remains undaunted and says of Helen, "To you I pledge my strength, my whole desire. Passion’s quintessence, all the fire. The idolatry, the madness of my heart."

Midi recordings:

1. Rittersaal (mp3)

2. Walzen (mp3)

3. Vor dem Palaste (mp3)

4. Wandlung (mp3)

Sienna Guillory as Helen of Troy