Agawe. Cantata for soprano solo, mixed choir and orchestra op. 38 (1917)

The cantata Agawe op. 38 for soprano, mixed choir (without words) and orchestra has never been performed. It has remained incomplete, as a draft of the score (a facsimile of the autograph was published by PWM together with the score of Demeter) and fragments of the piano score (copied by S. Golachowski). The theme, used by Euripides in his The Bacchantes, concerns Agave, the mother of Pentheus, King of Thebes. Dionysus punished her with madness for trying to suppress his cult, together with her son. As a result of the madness imposed on her, and unaware of her actions, together with the other bacchantes, she tears to pieces her son Pentheus, who was spying on the women in their ecstatic dionysian dance. A moment later, after the madness leaves her, she discovers the tragic truth. The sound style of the work seems similar to Demeter, although its expression is obviously more intense. It is a great pity that it remained in draft form; the subject of “bacchic madness” in combination with Szymanowski’s style would undoubtedly have produced a work of great interest.