Hit the Ode, Flacc: the 5th Antigone Competition Winners

Talent, talent everywhere!

Well, well, well. Every time we set you a challenge you find ever more ways to impress us with your inventive brilliance. It’s really such great fun for us to see how you respond in such different modes and manners, and our latest musical contest gave us all the more proof of the creative genius of our readers. We asked competitors, you’ll recall, to set Horace’s Pyrrha Ode (1.5) to some new music, of whatever form and flavour took your fancy.

It was tricky and hotly-debated work to cut a path through all the talented entries and pick out the most delightful and deserving compositions. A mind-bendingly broad sonic spectrum was covered by entrants, who threw in their hat from five continents.

In order for the 42-strong team of Antigone judges to get our collective head round the challenge, we headed to our usual retreat for Team-Building Exercises: a static caravan perched on a rocky outcrop of Île Amsterdam. Despite the distraction of the grating grawk of a great frigatebird that wouldn’t leave our spam-flecked barbecue alone, and despite the disconcertingly deep bass notes emanating from beneath our feet, we were still able to act like aural TWaTs throughout this mid-week period. And, as our heads are still ringing with all manner of melodies, I am pleased to announce from the lounge of our AHRC-funded Antigone jet the decision to which we eventually dragged ourslelves.

Our winning entry combines a beautiful and evocative composition by James Shields, with a stirring vocal performance from Cammy Davies. It’s a really brilliant effort, that so successfully brings the ode to life. Please do take a listen. And meanwhile £250 to the victors!

For our runner-up, we have this remarkable effort from Guilherme Gontijo Flores to a video by Rafael Dabul. The piece is gloriously immersive and atmospheric, and really conveying much of the mysterious character and unsettling close to the poem. So it is the sum of £150 that heads to this oh-so-near-winner!

But, dear reader, there were also so many efforts that really impressed us. Here are those that left us most entertained, with apologies and gratitude to those we don’t include in thos final crop.

What about this brilliant piece from Melissa Holston, which brings both plenty of techne and a hint of techno to the party:

And we were really struck by this Classical composition so beautifully handled by Laurence Price:

And, taking up the pace and volume a bit, here’s a catchy and guitar-driven version from John Oksanish that is arena-ready, for when at some point in a happier future Horace Goes On Tour:

And here’s a meticulous and melodious version that channels much of the one’s rise and fall from Steffan Shute:

In addition to the best of the compositions, we should also make mention of an elegant and knowing translation that was sent to us by Bernadette Perez:

Thank you so much, then, to all those who engaged with us and had some fun this time round. Come the summer we will of course have another competition on something entirely different. So please keep any eye out for that!