for 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, baritone, 4 percussionists  

As complexly layered in its sonic materials as it is in its political motivation, El sueño de Aquiles (The Dream of Aquiles) is a setting of a poem by Mexican writer José Manuel Recillas. The Aquiles of the title refers not only to the Greek warrior Achilles, the central character of Homer’s Iliad, but also to Aquiles Serdán, one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. Through its mirroring of these two characters, one mythical, the other real, the text raises the eternal question of humanity’s future and confronts the despairing thought that the struggle for freedom may prove everlasting. The composition calls for four immense percussion setups, placed at the front and back of a room. Four percussionists create a gamut of textures from low bass-drum rumblings to shimmering cymbal harmonics. Meanwhile, four voices alternate between clusters of close harmonies, complex rhythmic Sprechstimme, and intricate contrapuntal lines. 

Performed by
Virginia Hatfield, soprano
Eve-Lyn de La Haye, soprano
Krisztina Szabo, mezzo-soprano
Giles Tomkins, bass-baritone
Tambuco Percussion Ensemble

Commissioned by Soundstreams with generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts.