Shortly after arriving in Birmingham I was involved in the realisation of The Dancing Pig, in collaboration with Mark Lockett, a wonderfully polymorphous musician, and Roy Kwabena, then Birmingham’s poet laureate, and a brilliant story-teller originally from Trinidad.
The Dancing Pig is an Indonesian story about two curious children and a witch. I worked on a live electronics setup to transform Roy’s narrating voice and some of the gamelan instruments, to give the story and the music an eerie, outworldly quality.
Scored for narrator and an ensemble of four instruments (flute, clarinet, guitar, cello), The Divine Claudius employs the beautiful, powerful English translation by John and Bogdana Carpenter of the homonymous poem by Zbigniew Herbert, one of the greatest Polish poets of the last century. As it is the case with other ‘melologues’, this work has been written for Paola Roman and the Toujours Ensemble at the request of Nicola Campogrande.
First performed by the Toujours Ensemble in Turin in 1994.
Il racconto delle nuvole was written for Nicola Campogrande and the Toujours Ensemble. The original version featured a narrator, and included three artistic layers – the narrated text by the writer and painter Marco Vacchetti, the music, and a series of seven paintings by Vacchetti himself relating to the texts, to be shown in turn during the various sections of the performance.
Subsequently I found the music to work very well on its own as a suite of seven instrumental scenes, and as such it is presented here.
First performance in 1995 in Turin by the Toujours Ensemble and Paola Roman as narrator.
flute (doubling alto flute)
clarinet (doubling bass clarinet)
* * *
1. Nuvole scure
4. Pedro & Cristoforo
5. Segnali di fumo
7. Nuvole chiare
My friend Nicola Campogrande, a talented composer, writer and music organiser based in Turin invited me to write this ‘melologue’ – a narrated text accompanied by music – for Paola Roman and the Toujours Ensemble. The required theme for the work was “L’amore dei vecchi” – love in old age. I have put together a collection of five very different texts, to show five contrasting facets of love.
flute [doubling alto flute and bass flute in C]
clarinet [doubling bass clarinet and Eb clarinet]
On texts by Thomas Moore, Russian folklore, Simone de Beauvoir, Aristophanes, Maynard d’Aubigné.
Premiered in 1994 in Turin by the Toujours Ensemble with Paola Roman as narrator.