Gorgon’s Head II

for violin and piano

Camden Reeves

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for violin and piano

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Composer Camden Reeves
Year of Composition 2017
Duration ca.21'
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-cr2gh2


I – Central Disk [ca. 10″]

II – Divergent Axes of Symmetry [ca. 20″]

III – Endoskeleton with Rapidly Flexing Arms [ca. 1’30”]

IV – Bifurcation and Coiling with Unfurling Razor Hooks [ca. 4’30”]

V – The Branching of Five Thousand Alien-Like Tendrils [ca. 14’30”]

This is a musical sequel to my Gorgon’s Head (2013), also for violin and piano. As with the earlier work, the source of inspiration is the Gorgonocephalus caputmedusae: a basket star whose arms branch out into a network of around 5000 barbed tips that it uses to ensnare its prey. Like the Gorgons of Classical mythology, both works share a weird combination of beauty and terror. Each is quite different in concept, musical materials and structure.

The concept of Gorgon’s Head II (2017) was inspired by the physiology of the organism itself: a central disk with five main arms that each branch out into thousands of tendrils. The music is presented in five movements, with each movement being longer than the last. The first movement presents the basic structure. This then forms the basis of the second movement, which it elaborates slightly. A similar relationship maintains between each successive movement such that each contains, and builds upon, the material of its predecessor in ever more complex ways. As each movement grows from and stretches the last, new ideas pop out and develop. By the final movement the materials have branched out into networks of considerable complexity, but the simple idea heard in the first movement underlies everything.

Gorgon’s Head II was commissioned by my dear friend, the violinist, Ignacio Lara Romero.