Last night was aired one of the best TV arts programmes I've watched in recent years. It was like something from the good old days when the BBC took risks, rose to its subject matter and didn't dumb down to an audience only thought to be interested in cake-baking, auctions or murders. Guardian review.
I’ve just finished reading The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil. I'm doubtless late to the party but just in case there’s someone reading this who hasn’t yet got around to dusting down this hefty tome, let me explain that Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften is widely regarded as one of the world’s great novels, compared by some to Ulysses or The Remembrance of Things Past (The Times). No doubt it is something of a cult work in German-speaking lands.
A project in the autumn and winter lockdowns recently has been to finish another Lorca setting. My operatic version of Así que pasen cinco años I've called In Five Years' Time, which seems a more natural translation than 'When Five Years Have Passed'. Death is a theme of the play and very much in the headlines right now.
About a year ago I finished this chamber opera on a play by Oscar Wilde. I was keen to write an Italian-style opera although never sure what I meant by that.
Written before the pandemic outbreak, this could hardly have been more timely. A rhyming libretto by Leo Doulton at first had me stumped: how could such a doom-laden scenario be treated as a 'comedy of manners', as he put it?
Gilles' Requiem is one of the most lovely works of all time!
An interesting observation by Philip Brown... Handel vs. Bach.
I went to see Music Theatre Wales' production of The Golden Dragon in Basingstoke recently. This is a production which has caused some controversy because of its ‘yellowface’ casting.
The Oval Portrait
I came across Poe’s The Oval Portrait in 2013 when I needed to complete a programme of chamber opera: the story is concise and simply told, written in prose that sounds very musical.
Composer and musician