Composed for violinist Charles Castleman and harpsichordist Barbara Harbach,Lares Hercii was completed in Rochester, New York in the summer of 1983. Like Phantasmata and Trarames, Lares Hercii takes its title from the writings of the German Renaissance physician and occultist, Paracelsus.
Within Paracelsus' cosmology, lares hercii were "spirits of the elements of fire, as well as imps, hobgoblins, etc....which may produce noises, physical manifestations, stone throwing, and so forth." Thus, it seems apparent that these spirits possess some affinities to the will-o-the-wisps of later magical lore.
The work is a brief perpetuum mobile at very fast speed, intended to suggest a certain combination of fantastic mischievousness and sinister malignity. It was premiered in Rochester, New York on October 15, 1985 by Mr. Castleman and by Arthur Haas, harpsichord.
© 1985 by Christopher Rouse
These program notes can be reproduced free of charge with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Christopher Rouse