Labrys (1990)

The labrys, or double-axe, was the tool used in ancient ceremony, agricultural work, and battle. It is an axe with two heads, the two moon crescents, waxing and waning. Our word labyrinth comes from the Minoan labrys; it refers to the Hall of Double-Axes, or Labyrinth, dug up by archaeologists at the Palace of Knossos on Crete. Crete was the great matriarchal culture-centre of the Mediterranean; its murals and mosaics, pottery designs, seals, and amulets show the labrys wielded only by women, and it appears extensively as an icon-symbol of the Great Goddess.

The solo viola work Labrys, celebrates life and the intrinsic bond between the earth and the human spirit. Motivic material is derived largely from the physical shape of the double-axe while the image of the labyrinth is portrayed through the use of contradictory melodic and harmonic events. Labrys is approximately 8 minutes in length and was written for violist Laurel Howard.

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