<< -- 2 -- Keith Bramich MADRIGAL COMEDY
Music by two contemporary composers began with an extract -- a taster
only, leaving us curious for more -- of a madrigal by Mark Edgley Smith (born
1955) -- a sweet, simple, rather effective setting of words by e e cummings
... 'love is more thicker than forget / more thinner than recall / more
seldom than a wave is wet / more frequent than to fail'. Edgley Smith's
Five Madrigals to Poems by e e cummings won the Schola Cantorum of
Oxford prize, with a first performance in March 1995.
Mark Edgley Smith. Photo: Dominic Hamilton / Cheltenham International Festival of Music
His other vocal music includes the Vancouver Songbook, broadcast
on BBC Radio 3, and widely performed by its dedicatees, the Vancouver Bach
Children's Chorus. Edgley Smith lives locally, in Charleton Kings, and in
2001, the Cheltenham Festival commissioned a setting of Lewis Carroll's
poem Jabberwocky, given its first performance by members of the National
Youth Orchestra, conducted by Peter Stark, with the Richard Pate School
Choir and the performance poet Marcus Moore as narrator.
Photo: Keith Bramich
I Fagiolini's collaboration with composer, pianist and M&V
contributor Adrian Williams (born 1956) dates back at least to 1989, when
Williams wrote his Longing Songs for the group. Another I Fagiolini
commission from Williams -- A Smile and Ashes (1994) -- has since become
their most performed contemporary work. They've had to wait eight years
for more from the same pen, and this new work, Out in the jungle
(a 2002 Cheltenham Festival commission) has obviously been worth the wait.
The composer writes :
'Out in the jungle had a long gestation period. In fact it was
about ten years ago that I stumbled upon a box of letters dating from the
late 1960s to the late 70s in the attic of a house I'd just bought in London.
Study revealed them to have been sent by members of a fraternity of mostly
gay theatre guys and models, including some black Americans, who may have
lived in that house, containing highly characteristic writing, explicit
feelings and thoughts, and giving a strong flavour of that world as it was
in those days. The fact they're well within living memory gives them special
poignancy. So it had been in my mind to use the material in some musical
way for quite some years. This commission for I Fagiolini seemed the perfect
opportunity to bang the dust (quite literally) off the idea.'
Copyright © 9 July 2002
Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK