A Clockwork Operetta

I’m keen to write a few lines about our ‘Wednesdays at the Forge’ concert next week as we’re looking forward to it hugely and hope there’ll be a fine crowd to enjoy it with us.

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We’ve decided to have programmes for this concert and, although the short notes will tell you everything you need to know once you’re there, the music really speaks for itself.

So maybe it’s sufficient just to impart that we are presenting the works of two American pioneers – computer music guru Charles Dodge and instrument bender-in-chief George Crumb – framed by London premières of works by Manchester’s American representative Kevin Malone, including a dramatic new setting of Anthony Burgess’ pop lyrics for the screenplay of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (discarded by Kubrick).

We also have two incredible American performers: Emily Howard Cobley (mezzo soprano) and Stephen Upshaw (viola). In fact, the only thing that isn’t American is yours truly (my years studying in Chicago didn’t change my obviously home counties gibber).

Just to make this little offering slightly longer, I’ll sign off with a handful of performance directions lifted from the various scores. I suppose it’s a window into what happens on the other side of the stage and, bearing in mind the example of Erik Satie, they ought not be taken too literally. If they whet your appetite then make sure you’re in Camden on July 1st……

‘lowest notes can be lasciviously grunted…’

‘throw it away in parody…’

‘eerily, with “white tone”…’

‘raucously…’

‘ever so bombastically confident…’

‘return to safety of keyboard when the mosquito swarm thickens…’

‘scramble hands onto keyboard…’

‘re-enter the safety-in-numbers of urbania…’

‘ad lib. (in the style of a Lisztian transcription)…’

‘release finger(s) from node(s) immediately after key is struck or string is plucked (for a more beautiful resonance)…’

‘cold, steely, distant…’

‘beseechingly, with intent, and a childish voice…’

‘malevolently…’

‘with sinister pointing at audience…’

‘like a rock ballad power guitarist with effects pedals (wah-wah, flange etc.)…’

‘Amy Lee becoming Janis Joplin…’

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