Act 1 The Descent of Inanna

For: Large mixed ensemble
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Act 1 The Descent of Inanna


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Year of composition
Lyn Gambles
Difficult (Grades 7+)
12 minutes
Modern classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

The Descent of Inanna

Act One – The Light – Inanna’s worldly life.

Inanna the girl child is joyful and nurturing. She discovers her talents and handles unwelcome visitors. As she matures she awakens sexually and is courted, seduced and married. She becomes head of state and has two children. Nothing it seems can stop her personal, social and political ascendancy. Yet behind this supreme rise lurk signs that all is not well. Geshtinanna foresees a ‘deep dividing’. Inanna’s unstoppable powers will be tested to the limit. As the first act closes we are left with a sense of foreboding as the celebrations bring down the curtain on the first act.

Act Two – The Dark – Inanna’s soul life.

Inanna separates from all she knows and encounters the essence of herself in the Netherworld. She surrenders the symbols of her worldly life and bares her soul to a force she cannot control. She is given the ‘eyes of death’ and is murdered by the Queen of the Netherworld – her dark sister Ereshkigal. Yet behind this supreme sacrifice lie signs that all will be well again. She is rescued and revived by the saliva of two Holy Flies. But to return to the upper world she must send a replacement to the great below. She chooses her husband. Terrified he tries to escape, the demons are about to catch and kill him when Geshtinanna, who has seen it all before, offers to be killed in his place. This shape-shifting opens Inanna’s heart and she is filled with remorse. She decrees the curse shall be shared six months each. It’s a balancing act that leaves no-one condemned forever to the isolation of a soulless life in the Netherworld, no one that is, except Ereshkigal.

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