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<<  -- 2 --  Patric Standford    NARRATIVE STYLE


Briefly, the story is about a boy, taken on a fishing trip in a small boat by his father and two companion fisherman, a form of initiation into manhood, who survives five days of storm and dense mists without food and water. The men sacrifice themselves to his survival, and he is borne back alone by the wild duck Agukuk to his coastal village and safely into the myths of earth and water.

The music sounds lucid, almost naive in places, colourful as impressionist sound structures, and yet despite apparent simplicity, Wolf has devised a strict scheme which gives each of the four characters a set of scales derived from twelve falling fifths and twelve rising fourths, a system resembling an Indian raga. Each character has an allocation of notes from each scale, and preferred instruments. Whilst this is an ingeniously cohesive device for setting the extensive text she has derived from Aitmatov's narrative (the opera lasts two and a half hours) the overall effect of Wolf's score has a tendency to a somewhat irkesome stagnation at times [listen -- CD1 track 7, 0:50-1:47 -- Kirisk wishes his mother and girlfriend could see him as a man and hunter]. In fairness however it must be admitted that five days at sea in a boat in dense mists would be rather more tiresome than the act of an opera.

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Copyright © 22 October 2003 Patric Standford, Wakefield, UK


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