Holding your breath in anticipation. Not a direction for either clarinet or voice in one of the new musical scores, but what it has felt like to be waiting for their arrival. To have specially commissioned poetry and music to bring to life is both a privilege and a huge responsibility. As a performer, you always hope that the music in your programme ‘speaks’ to you, that the melodies and harmonies will give you a tingle factor. Added to that, as a singer, you hope that the words will capture your imagination and be satisfying and even fun to articulate. With already-published works, you have a chance to try pieces out. With newly-produced texts and music, you take a leap into the unknown.
It has been a fascinating leap so far! We performers are the third step in the creative process – first words, secondly music and now, our interpretation of them. We’ve had discussions about the emotions and the images which have come to mind as we have worked through the scores. We’ve been intrigued by how the composers have used phrasing and dynamics, melody and dialogue between the two instruments to interpret the poems they have each set, and fascinated at the different directions the poets have gone in for their inspiration. Exploring each piece in detail, we have enjoyed the colour and sound of the poetry, and the effects the composers have used to enhance the words.
It is our job to take the work of these four artists from the page to the audience, in our performance. Turning the elements…..the words have informed the music, and both will inform the performance – and the performers will inevitably make each performance individual and unique. Can’t wait. Frances Cooper