Flight from Byzantium
Quite apart from the extraordinary quality of the writing, what strikes the reader about Flight from Byzantium is the extreme up-to-dateness of Brodsky’s views, for it was as far back as 1985 that the writer confronted with historical rigour and lucid prophetic vision the great theme of the confrontation between East and West, a confrontation that would not long after transform itself into dramatic conflict.
In this musical-poetical work the part of the reciting voice follows one of the many paths traced by Brodsky in his essay. The recurrent image of Byzantium as a possible point of equilibrium between an East that is perennially in march towards the West and a West that is perennially engaged in absorbing its impetus accompanies us right to the sad and disenchanted finale of a cup of tea consumed while passing symbolically from one shore of the Bosphorus to the other.
Some of Brodsky’s Nativity Poems, written over the course of a long creative span that covered much of the writer’s life and entrusted here to a madrigalist-type vocal ensemble, are inserted as more lyrical moments amidst the lucid analysis of the East as the “metaphysical centre of humanity”. Deeply imbued with religious sentiment, these poems pursue their own autonomous course of images and emotions, which nonetheless encounters on more than one occasion the images and emotions of the recited part.
Year of composition
- London Royal Festival Hall 25/09/10
- Testi tratti da Fuga da Bisanzio e Poesie di Natale