Cerberus at the Gloaming
Full symphony orchestra. Heracles crosses to the Underworld to retrieve imprisoned comrade Theseus. Slowly approaching the gates just before dawn, they are guarded by Cerberus. Heracles treats Cerberus with the first kindness the monster has ever known.
The ordeal is not without great effort and the music is fraught with moments of terrible heart-racing alternating with episodes of both apprehension and tenderness. Violins, timpani, woodblock, and later brass represent fear, internal and external struggle. Celli and violas are the contemplative and reasoning thoughts in Heracles’ mind. The woodwind section solos embody tenderness and sorrow. And the tuba alone is Cerberus’ boldness while the eerier effect of tuba and bass paired with the piccolo characterize Heracles’ apprehension.