<< -- 2 -- Patric Standford NARRATIVE STYLE
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.
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.
Copyright © 22 October 2003
Patric Standford, Wakefield, UK