Original score for Paul Koek and Herman Altena’s, the ‘Greek tragedy’, Hyllos.

Bermel’s original score to Hyllos was commissioned by ASKO|Schoenberg ensemble and Veenfabriek and premiered in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Holland in November, 2013. The 30-minute original score accompanies Paul Koek and Herman Altena’s two and a half hour play, the ‘Greek tragedy’, Hyllos, which includes additional musical excerpts by Ives, Bruckner, and Diepenbrock.

"The music in this performance is of great beauty. In various formations on and around the stage, the musicians of Veenfabriek and the Asko | Schönberg performed the specially composed music by American composer Derek Bermel, in addition to extracts by Ives , Bruckner , and Diepenbrock… Their melancholic folk inflections, infectious Balkan rhythms and poignant ballads support and illustrate the drama wonderfully… Politics rarely sounded so beautiful.."
–Joke Beeckmans, Theatrekrant

Hyllos is a political tragedy about democratic ideals and their drawbacks. The story is situated in Trachis. After the death of the old king Herakles, his son Hyllos takes power. He wants to replace the autocratic regime of his father by an open democracy, modelled on the democratic reforms Theseus introduced in Athens. Theseus’ democratic system brought Athens great prosperity and turned the city state into a regional economic and political superpower.

Hyllos’ plans are thwarted by the old loyalists of Herakles and their leader Lykos, who was responsible for maintaining the civil order during Herakles’ kingship. Lykos refuses to sacrifice his old power for democratic ideals with a most uncertain outcome. Then refugees from Athens arrive, reporting on the turmoil that the new democratic system has caused there.

In Hyllos, the citizens of Trachis and Athens long for a new future, and the political shape of that future is at stake in the fierce debates between their leaders. They exploit and manipulate the hope and fears of their citizens by intimidations and by statements which are impossible to verify.’