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Duration: 15’
Instrumentation (i): Piano (+ horn), bass clarinet, violin (or viola), cello, bass, electric guitar,  2 percussion (vibes, tam-tam, sizzle cymbal, marimba, bells).
First performance: Almeida Festival, Union Chapel, London, 13 June 1987.
Instrumentation (ii) (arr. Roger Heaton)  Piano, bass-clarinet, violin
First performance Huddersfield, November 22 1992

Note : The Old Tower of Löbenicht (1986, rev. 1994)

The Old Tower of Löbenicht (1986, rev. 1994)

The original ensemble version of this piece was first performed at the Almeida Festival in 1986 (and later recorded for ECM Records) and is a sketch for an instrumental interlude in a projected opera based on Thomas De Quincey's The Last Days of Immanuel Kant. It occurs at a point in the opera where Kant is disturbed at the way in which growing poplar trees have obscured the view of a distant tower which "he could not be said properly to see..but (which) rested upon his eye as distant music on the ear - obscurely, or but half revealed to the consciousness". The owner of the trees, learning of Kant's distress, has them cropped.  This interlude, which is broadly symmetrical, represents in effect the two different states of Kant's response to his perceptions of the old tower.

Since making this first version I have revised the piece in two ways. Firstly I have re-written the solo part for my cellist, Sophie Harris. Secondly I have added a short prelude, based on John Coltrane's "After the Rain". The concert we were to have given in a beautiful outdoor courtyard in Ferrara was cancelled when a violent storm broke out just as we were about to play. This prelude ("Doppo la Pioggia") was written the next morning to open the postponed performance.

Gavin Bryars.



Duration: 45’
Commissioned by the Tate Gallery Liverpool for its opening celebration.
Instrumentation: 2 cathedral organs, female choir, alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet,  percussion ( 4 players, see Percussion for details), 5 trombones, euphonium, 2 tubas.
Performed: Albert Dock, Liverpool, 24-26 May 1988.



(text by Pico della Mirandola)
Duration 15’
Dedicated to Frances Barber and Neil Pearson.
Commissioned by the Hilliard Ensemble
Instrumentation: 4 voices (alto, 2 tenors, baritone)
First performance: Hilliard Festival of Voices, Lewes, August 1988.

Note : Glorious Hill (1988)

Glorious Hill (1988)

Glorious Hill was commissioned by the Hilliard Ensemble and first performed by them at its summer Festival of Voices in Lewes, Sussex, in August 1988. It was the first piece I wrote for the ensemble and I focused on the singers' unique ability to move with ease from early music to tonal music of the present day. There were techniques which I asked for which I hardly needed to notate - the staggered breathing of the two tenors to supply a continuous unbroken held note for example - and the piece moves between passages for solo voices and sections of highly chromatic homophony, almost as if the music were switching between the 12th century of Perotin and the 16th century of Gesualdo. Each of the four voices is given its own solo passage - sometimes accompanied, sometimes quietly supported by the other voices.

The title, Glorious Hill comes from the name of the small-town Mississippi setting of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke. I wrote the music for the 1987 production of this play at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre, the first time I had written any incidental music for the stage. Williams makes very specific demands in terms of music and there is one particularly powerful scene, the penultimate one, throughout which music and atmospheric sound effects are continuous. The principle character Alma argues passionately about the vital importance of human choice with the man to whom she has, too late, admitted her love. I watched this section every night throughout the 4 week run of the play watching the different ways in which the actress, Frances Barber, played the scene. There is a powerful emotional and philosophical connection between the imagery of this scene and a passage from the Renaissance philosopher Pico della Mirandola's Oration on the Dignity of Man which forms the text of Glorious Hill. This passage has been described as one of the few passages in Renaissance philosophy to treat human freedom in a modern way. The text, which is sung in Latin, is addressed by God to Adam before the fall from grace.

Dedicated to Frances Barber and Neil Pearson

 

 



Text: Blake Morrison, based on Jules Verne.
Duration: 22’
Instrumentation: Solo soprano voice, solo piano (originally 2 pianos), string quartet, bass, bass clarinet, electric guitar, 2 percussion (originally including electric keyboard).
First performance: St George's Brandon Hill, Bristol, 11 November 1988.



(Text from Dante: La Vita Nuova and Pico della Mirandola: Conclusiones).
Duration: 7’
Dedicated to Erica, Robert and Vita Hewison.
Instrumentation: Solo alto, violin, viola, cello.
First performance: St Mary de Castro, Leicester, 1 April 1989

Note : Incipit Vita Nova (1989)

Incipit Vita Nova (1989)

Incipit Vita Nova is for male alto and string trio and sets those short phrases that appear in Latin rather than Italian in Dante's La Vita Nuova. It was written in February 1989 to celebrate the birth of Vita, the first child of my friends Erica and Robert Hewison. I wrote the piece at the same time as I was writing Cadman Requiem and, like that piece, it represents a personal response to a life. Both were written for the Hilliard Ensemble with whom I had developed a close working relationship. I chose this particular instrumentation because while Erica loves David's voice Robert is very fond of my string quartets. David effectively serves as an additional instrument to the string trio by achieving an imperceptible blend of voice with accompanying instruments at the beginning and at the end. Although I had decided to write the piece long before the birth I did not start the piece until after the baby was born, waiting until I knew whether the baby was a boy or a girl, and wanting to know the baby's name - Vita. I originally looked for all uses of the word "Vita" (life) among Pico della Mirandola's Conclusiones  (I had set Pico for Glorious Hill, my earlier piece for the Hilliard) and eventually added one of these sentences ("Omnis vita est immortalis") as the penultimate line of the text while working on La Vita Nuova ("The New Life") as the main source. The first performance was given by David James at St. Mary de Castro Church in Leicester on 1 April 1989, and shortly afterwards was performed with the first performances of Cadman Requiem in Lyon and Marseille.

Note : Text for Incipit Vita Nova

Text for Incipit Vita Nova

Incipit Vita Nova A new life is beginning

Ecce deus fortior me Behold a God more powerful than I

qui veniens dominabitur mihi. who comes to rule over me

Apparuit iam beatitudo vestra Your source of joy has now appeared

Vide cor tuum Behold your heart

Tempus est ut praetermictantur It is time for false images

simulacra nostra. to be put aside.

Nomina sunt consequentia rerum Names are the consequences of things

Hosanna in excelcis. Hosanna in the highest.

Bella mihi, video, Things beautiful to me, I see

bella parantur. beautiful things are being prepared.

(vita) qui est per omnia secula (a life) which is for all times

benedicta, benedicta. blessed, blessed.

Omnis vita est immortalis. All life is immortal.

Nomina sunt consequentia rerum Names are the consequences of things.

The piece is dedicated to Vita, Erica and Robert Hewison.



(Text: I. Requiem/Kyrie; II. Bede (Latin paraphrase of Caedmon’s Creation Hymn); III. Agnus Dei; IV. Caedmon Creation Hymn; V. In Paradisum.)
Duration 30’
Dedicated to Bill Cadman.
(I) Instrumentation: alto, 2 tenors, bass-baritone, 2 violas, cello (+ optional bass)
First performance: Conservatoire de Lyon, 17 May 1989
(ii) Instrumentation: (4 voices)+ viol consort (2 treble viols, 2 tenors, 1 bass, 1 great bass)
First performance: recording AIR studios November 17th 1997
(live: Westminster Cathedral December 21st 1998)

Note : Cadman Requiem (1989)

Cadman Requiem (1989)

Cadman Requiem was written in memory of my friend and sound engineer Bill Cadman, who was killed in the Lockerbie air crash in December 1988. It is in five sections and sets only two of the traditional requiem texts - "Kyrie" and "Agnus Dei" - with the addition of "In Paradisum" which, although from the Order of Burial, is set by Fauré and others. The other two sections, which come in between the traditional parts, are Bede's paraphrase of Caedmon's Creation-Hymn (in Latin like the three traditional movements) and the original Caedmon poem (in 7th century Northumbrian). The surname "Cadman" is a corruption of "Caedmon", the first English poet who, though he considered himself to lack any poetic skill, discovered the gift of poetic utterance when "a certain person" appeared to him in a dream.

The piece was written in the spring of 1989 for the four voices of the Hilliard Ensemble accompanied, in the original version, by 2 violas and cello, with optional double bass. Another version was made in the autumn  of 1997 for the Hilliard Ensemble to perform with the 6 viol consort Fretwork.

It is dedicated to Bill Cadman.

Note : Bryars' Cadman Requiem translation

Bryars' Cadman Requiem translation

I Requiem

Eternal rest grant them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

O Lord, hear my prayer, all flesh shall come to thee.

Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy.

 

II Caedmon Paraphrase (Bede) (tenor solo)

Praise we now the maker of Heaven's fabric, the majesty of His might and His mind's wisdom, work of the world-warden, worker of all wonders, how the Lord of Glory, first made Heaven for the children of men as a roof and shelter, then he made middle earth to be their mansion.

 

III Agnus Dei

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, give them rest.

Let perpetual light shine upon them, together with thy Saints, for thou art good.

Eternal rest grant them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

 

IV Caedmon's "Creation Hymn" (baritone solo)

Now let us praise the keeper of the kingdom of heaven, the might of God and the wisdom of his spirit, the work of the Father of glory, in that he, the eternal Lord, ordained the beginning of everything that is wonderful. He, the holy Creator, first created heaven as a roof for the children of men; afterwards the keeper of mankind, the eternal Lord, almighty Governor, fashioned the world, the middle earth, for mortals.

 

V In Paradisum

May the angels receive thee in paradise; at thy coming may the martyrs receive thee into the Holy City. There may the choir of angels receive thee and with Lazarus, once a beggar, may thou have eternal rest.



Duration: 15’
Dedicated to "my companions in France, Summer 1989".
Commissioned by the Delta Saxophone Quartet.
Instrumentation: Saxophone quartet (soprano, soprano, alto, baritone).
First performance: Phoenix Arts Centre, Leicester, 3 October 1989.

Note : Alaric I or II (1989)

Alaric I or II (1989)

(dedicated to my companions in France, Summer 1989)

This saxophone quartet is scored for two soprano saxophones, plus alto and baritone, rather than the more common SATB, to mirror the instrumentation and pitch ranges of the more familiar string quartet. I have been interested in the saxophone as a concert instrument for some time and had, of course, known the jazz repertoire fairly well from the time when I worked as a jazz musician in the early 1960's. Indeed, in my first opera Medea I included two saxophones (soprano doubling alto, and alto doubling tenor) in the orchestra both to replace oboes and at the same time to reinforce the chorus. I also wrote an operatic paraphrase, called Allegrasco, of that opera for soprano saxophone and piano in the early 1980's. I have always enjoyed Percy Grainger's views on orchestration and his thinking about the saxophone is particularly illuminating (he made transcriptions and arrangements of early music for the saxophone, for example, finding the instrument's tone quality, especially in ensemble, as a modern equivalent of the sound of medieval instruments).

Alaric I or II was written during the summer of 1989 when I had no access to any instrument or recording equipment and so the musical references which I wanted to include were done, imperfectly, from memory. These included parts of my second opera Doctor Ox's Experiment (then only existing in sketch form), the work of the Argentinean bandoneon player Dino Saluzzi and so on. I also included a number of extended techniques including circular breathing, multiphonics and extreme registers. The piece is technically quite difficult and, curiously, it is the lower instruments which have the hardest parts - the baritone sax having some altissimo passages and, eventually, ending the piece with a brief elegiac solo in the pibroch piping tradition. The piece is essentially lyrical and even vocal in character, thereby following Grainger's idea of the saxophone family (SATB) as a parallel to the family of human voices.

The title comes from the name of the mountain, Mount Alaric, in South West France, opposite the Chateau where I spent the summer. No-one seemed to know which of the two "King Alarics" the name referred to.

Gavin Bryars

 

 

 



Duration: 16’
Dedicated to Bill (Frisell and Cadman)
Instrumentation: Solo electric guitar, 2 violas, cello.
First performance: studio recording (ECM Records, Rainbow Studios, Oslo, 17, 18 September 1990.
(see 1998 for subsequent version)

Note : After the Requiem (1990)

After the Requiem (1990)

I had written the Cadman Requiem in 1989 for the Hilliard Ensemble in memory of my friend and sound engineer Bill Cadman, who was killed in the Lockerbie air crash. His death affected me very deeply and, pending a recording of this piece, Manfred Eicher asked if I might like to develop an instrumental work from this, using the same instrumentation for accompaniment and retaining the same opening bars as part of a new ECM album. The piece is "after" the Requiem therefore in the musical sense of being based on it, in the chronological sense of following on from it, and in the spiritual sense of representing that state which remains after mourning is (technically) over. I wrote the piece in Venice in September 1990 and finished it in Oslo on the day of the recording, where I added the electric guitar of Bill Frisell. This, I felt, blended particularly well with low strings (originally 2 violas and cello; in live performance sometimes viola, cello and bass). Coincidentally, having used certain distortion effects on the guitar, we found that we were recording on the twentieth anniversary of the death of Jimi Hendrix. Within the music I use one or two modified extracts from the Cadman Requiem itself, and from its common source Invention of Tradition, for which Bill Cadman had done the sound design.

The piece is dedicated to the two Bills (Cadman and Frisell).



Duration: 30’
Commissioned by Rambert Dance Company for dance choreographed by Lucinda Childs.
Instrumentation: alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flugelhorn, horn, trombone, piano, electric keyboard, bass,, taped voice (or male alto), 2 percussion.
First performance: Apollo Theatre, Oxford, 16 November 1990.

Note : Four Elements (1990)

Four Elements (1990)

Four Elements was commissioned by Rambert Dance Company for the ballet by Lucinda Childs in 1990. I got to know Lucinda's work through the director Robert Wilson at the time I was working on his The CIVIL WarS. from 1981 to 1984. I had let Lucinda have some tapes and she made a solo dance, Outline, to one of these pieces (Out of Zaleski's Gazebo). The commission from Rambert provided the opportunity, finally,  for us to meet. The initial idea for the dance was hers and we discussed many times throughout that year the nature of the piece, its structure and relative pace. The music falls into in 4 sections: 'Water', 'Earth', 'Air' and 'Fire', each one being given a different musical character in terms of tempo, instrumental emphasis and colour; and theatrical character through different permutations of the 8 dancers ('Earth', for example uses only the 4 females, while 'Air' uses the 4 male dancers), the relative complexity of repetitive movement and the use of space.

Part 1 - 'Water' - is slow and features the bass clarinet and colouristic percussion (including the water gong).

Part 2 - 'Earth' - is at a medium tempo with a slow melodic line for tuned percussion and a mirrored line for wind instruments.

 Part 3 - 'Air' - is fast with an accompaniment by keyboards supporting high solo parts for (in sequence) alto saxophone, flugelhorn, and sax with French horn.

Part 4 - 'Fire' - is slow with overlapping lines for unison brass (trombone, horn, flugelhorn) and amplified double bass, using effects pedals, with bass clarinet, over slow keyboard arpeggios and ends with a Coda in which David James' alto voice sings a short vocalise over low drones from the ensemble....

As well as working closely with Lucinda I also had a fruitful collaboration with Roger Heaton, then music director of Rambert who is also clarinettist in my own ensemble. I deliberately chose to use a range of instruments that I had not used before - especially the combination of instruments in the wind section (alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flugelhorn, French horn and tenor trombone). The piece was first performed at the Apollo Theatre Oxford in November 1990 and subsequently filmed for BBC Television's Dancemakers series.



Duration: 25’
Dedicated to the Balanescu Quartet
Commissioned by the Balanescu Quartet.
First performance: St Paul's Hall. (Huddersfield, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival) 1 December 1990.

Note : String Quartet no.2 (1990)

String Quartet no.2 (1990)

The second string quartet was written in 1990 commissioned by the Huddersfield Festival and the Balanescu Quartet. By then I had worked with Alex Balanescu a good deal and had come to know members of the quartet personally. At that time the quartet had an interesting international mix of players: Rumanian first violin, American second, English viola and Scottish cello and there are passages which reflect that personal acquaintance, for example the quasi-Scottish lament played at the end by the cello answered by the first violin (Scotland 1 Rumania 1, rewriting football history). At the same time there were devices that I tried in an experimental way, such as the use of the 'bottleneck' to produce an extreme form of portamento to an extended cello melody (playing in unison with the viola) in an extremely high register giving an effect not unlike the sound of the Onde Martinot. There are moments in this quartet unlike anything else I have written, the very fast section for example in which the ensemble play pulsing chords at very high speed and then, little by little, melodies emerge as chords which have previously been played by single notes on the four stringed instruments are changed to double stops thereby freeing individual instruments to play melodic phrases. In a way the second quartet begins where the first quartet ends - with harmonics, though here only artificial ones and with normal tuning - rather like the second episode of a television series ("Previously on Twin Peaks....."). The second quartet is a more relaxed, easy-going piece than the first being less referential and paying closer attention to the ways in which this particular combination of strings can cohere in the diverse pairing of instruments, the use of solo versus accompaniment in surprising ways, in the contrasts between homogeneity and heterogeneity.



Duration: 7’
Instrumentation: 2 violins
Dedicated to Alexander Balanescu, Liz Perry and John Carney
First performance (no.2): St Paul's Hall Huddersfield (Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival) 2 December 1990
(NB. also included as part of Die Letzten Tage , q.v. 1992)



Text: Jules Verne (from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea)
Duration: c.15’
Instrumentation: Soprano and organ.
First performance: Leicester Cathedral, 22 January 1991

Note : The Black River (1991)

The Black River (1991)

for soprano and organ

This piece is one of a series of works that take texts or imagery from the work of Jules Verne. Here the text is taken from  20,000 Leagues under the Sea, a section in which Professor Aronnax describes the scene outside the Nautilus where countless varieties of sea-creatures escort the submarine along the current of the mysterious underwater  Black River. Coincidentally the first work that I wrote using Verne as a source, the cantata Effarene (1984), sets an earlier portion of the same chapter for its closing movement and I find the objectivity and invention of Verne's language a constant stimulus. As Raymond Queneau said of Verne: "What a style! Nothing but nouns."

The piece was written for a concert given by the organist Christopher Bowers-Broadbent at Leicester Cathedral in January 1991 and later recorded by him with soprano Sarah Leonard for ECM New Series in 1993.

 



Duration: 20’
Dedicated to John Harle and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta.
Commissioned by the Bournemouth Sinfonietta.
Instrumentation:  Solo soprano saxophone and orchestra
1(picc),1 + Cor.A.,1(Bs.cl),2(contra);
2, Flugelhorn,1,0;
piano, Percussion (1 player- bass drum, tam-tam, glockenspiel, bells, cymbal)
Strings (6.6.4.3.2) n.b. 21 part divisi  essential.
First performance: St. Mary’s Church, Swanage, July 6th 1991.

Note : The Green Ray

The Green Ray

(for soprano saxophone and orchestra)

The piece is dedicated to John Harle and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, who commissioned it with funds made available by South West Arts. It makes use of the saxophone's ability to play long expressive melodic passages, and was written too, having seen the Sinfonietta perform, with some of its individual players in mind. Although played without a break, the piece does fall into a number of recognisable sections delineated by a change of tempo, or by a substantial shift of texture. For example, shortly before the end, there is a passage where the saxophone is accompanied by 21 solo strings - the entire string section playing divisi - followed by a coda, which contains simultaneous  "laments" (for saxophone, cor anglais, French horn, and solo violin).

The Green Ray is the title of a romantic novel by Jules Verne, set in the West of Scotland, in which a peculiar atmospheric phenomenon plays the key part. A "green ray" is seen at sunset in certain latitudes, and in certain coastal conditions, just as the sun touches the horizon and, for a brief moment, the orange sun emits a green ray of light. In the Verne story the simultaneous sighting of the ray will seal a couple's love, and the attempts of a young man to do this are constantly frustrated (by sudden clouds, by a yacht passing along the horizon, and so on). This part of Western Scotland is also the place where certain piping traditions originated. Male pipers practised in one cave on the seashore, females in another (the "piper's cave" and the "pigeon's cave"). As they played their laments at twilight a triangulation, similar to that in the Verne story (male-ray-female) may well have occurred without the knowledge of the innocent participants, hence the sequence of simultaneous laments in the coda.

On one occasion I witnessed the green ray in Southern California. I was returning along the coast after having climbed up Mt.Tecate, on the top of which is a house, now empty, where Evans-Wentz translated The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Gavin Bryars



Text: Jules Verne ( from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea)
Duration: 16’30”
Dedicated to Delphine Seyrig.
Commissioned by Nicola Walker Smith.
Instrumentation:  Low mezzo-soprano voice, electronics, digital tape (realised at Autograph Studios, London).
First performance: Nettlefold Festival, London September 21st 1991.
Instrumentation (ii) low contralto voice, 2 violins, viola, cello, 2 double basses, 2 percussion, electric keyboard.
First performance: Amphitheatre Opera-Bastille, Paris December 9th 1992

Note : The White Lodge

The White Lodge

The White Lodge, originally for voice and electronics also exists in a version arranged for low contralto voice and string sextet (2 violins, viola, cello, 2 basses) It was written in 1991 to be recorded by the mezzo soprano Nicola Walker Smith and is dedicated to Delphine Seyrig.

I met Delphine for the first time when we worked together on Robert Wilson's The CIVIL WarS and found ourselves rehearsing and sketching the piece in the Monastère de la Sainte Baume near Marseilles in the bitter winter of early 1984. We became close friends and always sat together at lunch and dinner, where she tried to dissuade me from my developing vegetarianism while relishing the opportunity to speak in her impeccable English with the only non-American English speaker in the ensemble. She had previously come across my work through recordings which her son Duncan possessed and one of these, Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet, offered some solace during her mother's last illness, which had caused her to leave the monastery prematurely. We continued to see each other over the years. I was particularly touched on two occasions: first when she and Coralie dashed in a taxi, still wearing their make-up, from a matinée performance of Letters Home to the final performance of the Bryars/Wilson Medea at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées; and second when Sami Frey was using my music for his stunning version of Je Me Souviens and we had a late afternoon drink together  in Avignon just before she dashed off to, I think, Ulan Bator to complete some filming. I was immensely saddened by her death and the least I could do was to write something in her memory.

The White Lodge is one of three pieces I wrote that year which have a common source in the work of Jules Verne. Two of these use texts from Vingt Mille Lieues Sous La Mer. In the case of The White Lodge this is a passage which describes the transformation of the night sea to a milky white colour through the presence of countless tiny sea creatures. I share with Roussel and Queneau an unqualified admiration for Verne: as Queneau said "What a style! Nothing but nouns!"

'The White Lodge' in David Lynch's Twin Peaks, like the phenomenon described by Professor Aronnax, is a place encountered only by those who have acquired the means to locate it.

Note : Text of The White Lodge

Text of The White Lodge

The White Lodge is one of three pieces I wrote that year which have a common source in the work of Jules Verne. Two of these use texts from Vingt Mille Lieues Sous La Mer. In the case of The White Lodge this is a passage which describes the transformation of the night sea to a milky white colour through the presence of countless tiny sea creatures.

 

Text (Vingt Mille Lieues Sous La Mer - deuxième partie)

Vers sept heures du soir, le Nautilus à demi immergé navigua au milieu d'une mer de lait. À perte de vue l'océan semblait être lactifié. Était-ce l'effet des rayons lunaires? Non, car la lune, ayant deux jours à peine, était encore perdue au dessous de l'horizon dans les rayons du soleil. Tout le ciel, quoique éclairé par le rayonnement sidéral, semblait noir par contraste avec la blancheur des eaux. "C'est ce qu'on appelle une mer de lait - vaste étendue de flots blancs quie se voit fréquemment sur les côtes d'Amboine et dans ces parages...Cette blancheur n'est due qu'à la présence de myriades de bestioles infusoires, sorts de petits vers lumineaux, d'un aspect gélatineux et incolore, de l'épaisseur d'un cheveu, et dont la longueur ne dépasse pas un cinquième de millimètre. Quelques-unes de ces bestioles adhèrent entre elles pendant l'espace de plusieurs lieues"...

Pendant plusieurs heures le Nautilus trancha de son éperon ces flots blanchâtres, et je remarquai qu'il glissait sans bruit sur cette eau savonneuse, comme s'il eut flotté dans ces remous d'écume que les courants et les contre-courants des baies laissaient quelquefois entre eux. Ver minuit, la mer reprit subitement sa teinte ordinaire mais, derrière nous, jusqu'aux limites de l'horizon, le ciel, réfléchissant la blancheur des flots, sembla longtemps impregné de vagues lueurs d'une aurore boréale.


Gavin Bryars



Text: Juan Muñoz
Duration 50’ (10 movements each of 5’)
Instrumentation: Speaking voice, string quartet
Recorded Dave Hunt Studio, London April 17th 1992

Note : Text of Programme 1

Text of Programme 1

Good evening... welcome once again to: 'A Man in a Room, Gambling'.

As we mentioned yesterday, we are going to explain the second part of some of the most common card tricks that can be performed at a gambling table. Perhaps one of the most well-known is the apparently simple move of bottom-dealing... we say "simple" because most people who don't play cards professionally think that little skill is needed to take a card from the bottom half of the pack without being noticed... it is true that this move does not demand intensive practice, like the double-lift or certain palming operations or the Mexican three-carded... but it is important to remember that while bottom-dealing at cards, just one unnatural movement will arouse  suspicions.

Now, as on every evening... take your pack of cards... shuffle it... take out roughly half the cards... because dealing from the bottom is not usually done with a full pack... it is much easier and more effective when the pack is slimmed down... Professionals normally wait until the last rounds before dealing from the bottom.

Now, shuffle the half-pack but this time, as you are doing it, place one or more cards at the bottom of the pack... if you feel comfortable use a riffle shuffle, otherwise do a hand shuffle... then it will be enough for you to flick the cards.

If you have already fixed the bottom of the pack, let us move on to today's subject: which is dealing cards from the bottom...

Hold the pack in your left hand... but don't grip it... The middle finger and thumb will do all the work... now push the top card out a little with your thumb, as if you were offering it for your right hand to deal... at the same time, bend your ring finger backwards until the nail rests on the edge of the bottom card... don't worry - this will be hidden by the card sticking out at the top... now... force the bottom card slightly up and sideways with your thumb, pushing it out a little... the top and bottom cards will be left jutting out of the pack in the same way. The upper card will conceal the bottom one perfectly.

Pay close attention because it only takes a second... move your right hand as if to take the top card... At the moment when your right hand reaches your left, at that precise moment... pull your thumb back and draw back the top card, at the same time that the fingers of your right hand are taking the lower card... did you see?.. did you see?

Tomorrow we will teach you how to deal from the bottom in stud poker or when you are turning over a trump in bridge.

Thank you and good night.

Note : Text of Programme 2

Text of Programme 2

Good evening... welcome once again to: 'A Man in a Room, Gambling'.

As we promised yesterday, we will explain how to perform the old and worthy trick, "El Trile", or "Three-Card". You will have noticed this trick a few times on the streets of your town centre... El Trilero, or Three Carded Man, shows three cards to his audience face up on a folding table or a cardboard box. One of them is always an ace. The cards are usually bent lengthways so that they can be easily picked up by their ends. The performer shows the three cards, one after the other, then picks them up and deals them out again... slowly... face down... on the table... in a row... one after the other...

In general we wouldn't advise you to bet, but if that is what you want to do, we will explain in tomorrow's programme how to beat the Three Carded Man.

This evening we will just tell you how the trick is done.

As on every evening, first take a pack of cards; there is no need to shuffle as we are going to use three cards... Remember that one of them has to be an ace... Take them now...

Bend them a little along the line of the card... Now put them face down on the table, one beside the other... choose one of the cards apart from the ace... now, using your right thumb and middle finger, pick it up by its ends, along the line of the card... take it gently along the line of the card and a little to the right. Now, without letting go of it, place this card exactly on top of the ace... do you remember where it is? It's easy because you only have two cards on the table... allow the two cards to touch on their left sides... and now pick up the ace with your thumb and ring-finger... do it again if you like... your right hand keeps hold of both cards... the upper card with your thumb and middle finger... the lower one... the ace... with your thumb and ring-finger... now take the third card with your left hand and pay close attention because this all happens in a flash...

Move your right hand towards your left hand, and with a slight sloping downwards throw the upper card so that it falls on the left side of the table, and then quickly return your right hand to its original position.

At the point when your middle finger is dropping the top card, it takes over control of the lower card and your ring finger stretches full out, so that when your hand comes to rest in its original position, the spectators can see that the finger that was holding the upper card is now the same as before and the finger that was holding the lower card is now free. ... The rest is easy... Move your left hand towards the right side of the table and drop its card there... move your right hand again and drop the last card between the other two.

As you will have seen, the false movement takes place when the first card is being dealt. The right hand seems to drop the lower card first, but in reality it deals the upper card... In any case, in the street you can't follow the card in question with your eyes.

Good night and thank you.

Note : Text of Programme 3

Text of Programme 3

Good evening... we present: 'A Man in a Room, Gambling'.

This evening we are going to show the easiest and most daring solution to a problem that has been called the card player's "black hole". It is the problem of cutting.

The professional gambler knows how to fix his cards before dealing. The false riffle and the palmed top pack are just two of the many subtle tricks of the trade... But every gambler, not just a professional, can fix some cards while he is shuffling... All you have to do, as you collect the cards from the table, is remember the order of an openly-discarded hand - either the discard itself or the last cards played on the table... Fifteen or twenty seconds are then more than enough to arrange three cards as you shuffle.... If no one at the table cuts, you just have to deal from the bottom... but people do cut... at every gambling table the pack is cut after being shuffled.

Now we will explain two ways of coming out of a cut with the cards in the same order that they had when the pack was shuffled... The first method should be used if you were cutting for a companion... who is on your side... the second cut if you are gambling on your own.

Now, as on every evening, take your pack of cards... shuffle... and arrange some of the cards at the top... here is the false cut... hold the pack by the sides near the end between the thumb and middle finger of each hand... holding the lower part with your left hand and the upper part with your right... draw the bottom pack up and forward with your left hand... bring it in towards you and drop it... move your right hand up a little and slide the upper pack back on top... the moves have to be quick and clean.

Now we will explain the second method.  Take the pack again... shuffle it... lay it on the table... cut yourself as if you were going to be your own victim... good. Now pay attention to the moves because they are so simple that they need some audacity to be performed. Remember that you have to shift the cards around openly, casually and without haste. The important thing is that your movements should look quite normal.

Pay close attention... take the lower packet with your right hand... and instead of putting it on top of the other, slide it along the table up to your left hand... now, take the second pack... and put it on top in the same way...

Amazing... it's amazing.

Good night and thank you.

Note : Text of Programme 4

Text of Programme 4

Good evening... welcome once again to: 'A Man in a Room, Gambling'.

This evening we will teach you one of the best things that can be done at a gambling table. Some people with a high moral sense use the word "tricks" to describe these subtle techniques. But we prefer to call them "artifices". We mentioned before that it is important to arrange the cards when you pick them up from the table and square the pack, even before you begin to shuffle... for example... if you gather up the pack after a round of poker where two hands have been shown... one with a pair... another with a card of the same value as the ones in the pair.... In that case a mere glance is enough for you to arrange the small pack...

You could of course leave them on top, but that wouldn't be very useful. Knowing two or three cards at the bottom of the pack is a big advantage for the expert gambler... When a professional is gambling alone, he will deal without putting the lower pack on top after the shuffle, or he will palm them while shuffling, or he may even jump a little after shuffling... what we call a "salto".

This evening we will teach you how to take the cards left on top, the ones you have arranged while shuffling and which we have referred to on other evenings as the "upper pack"... We will teach you how to shift these cards to the bottom of the pack... so that you can deal them from the bottom.

Once again, as on every evening, take your pack of cards... shuffle them... choose three cards and arrange them on an upper pack... remember that in cuts of this kind it is important for the fingers to be placed in the right position. You must cut the cards only with your thumb and middle finger... the ring fingers should be bent against the ends of the packs and the index fingers should be bent on top of the pack... so that they don't obstruct your view.

Hold the pack by the sides... near the ends... between the thumbs and middle fingers of each hand... Move the pack a little away from the table... and separate the lower pack with your right hand... drop the pack in your left hand onto the table. Now... place the pack of your right hand... on top... but this is important... keep some space between the two, until you mark a break with your right thumb... on the rim of the lower pack.

Now... apparently square it... and move it away from the table, again with both hands. Then, using your left hand, separate the pack that has remained on top of the break...  continue...separate with your left hand small packs... dropping one on top of the other... now drop the last pack... on top... with your right hand... the cards are at the bottom... Now you can start dealing...

Thank you and good night.

Note : Text of Programme 5

Text of Programme 5

Good evening... we present: 'A Man in a Room, Gambling'.

Today we are going to show you how to sort three cards in a pack. The system we'll use is suitable for any game where the cards are dealt singly, as in poker and so many others.

A little warning before we begin... we are going to do today's programme really slowly... when we speak of a "jog" in the overhand shuffle... that card which sticks out a little... less than a quarter of an inch... from the rest of the pack... all you have to remember is that the "in-jog" is the card sticking out over your little finger, and the "out-jog" the one over your index finger.

Now decide how many players will be at the table... four is the usual number... three if you prefer.

And remember that when you shuffle and sort cards like this at the table, you have to do it without looking at the pack.

Now, as on every evening... first take your pack... do an overhand shuffle while you are arranging three cards on top... Cut approximately half the pack from underneath... set the top card at in-jog... skip two cards less than double the number of players... skip one at out-jog and shuffle the rest on top... Cut below the jog of the out-jog to make a break under the in-jog.   Now, skip one card less than the number of players... then, with your left hand, drop in one batch... all the cards that are there from the break.... Skip one... skip another at the in-jog and, mentally counting it as 'one', keep skipping until you get to one less than double the number of players... skip one at the out-jog... and shuffle the rest on top... Cut below the in-jog... and drop the pack on top.... Now listen carefully... Cut under the out-jog... Skip one less than the number of players... and now drop the rest on top...

The result is that the three cards arranged in the shuffle will go to the one who deals... for the first three rounds...

Thank you and good night.

Note : Text of Programme 6

Text of Programme 6

Good evening... once again, we present: 'A Man in a Room, Gambling'.

This evening, as we promised, we will explain how to take a card from the bottom when you are dealing at stud poker or turning over a trump. The point is not just to take the bottom card, but to make it look as if you are taking the top one.... We will explain how a normal player turns the top card and how an expert gambler should turn the bottom card so that it looks like the top one, as if everything were being done normally. But first let us briefly recall what is perhaps the most widely used trick in the professional repertoire: Dealing from the Bottom of the Pack.

Now, as on every evening, take your pack of cards... hold it with your left hand... push the top card out a little with your thumb... as if you were offering it for your right hand to deal.... Now, press the bottom card with your thumb... force it slightly upwards and sideways... at the same time pushing it out a little... good.... Now you have two cards, the top and the bottom, sticking out from the pack in the same way,... with one subtle difference;...the upper card is perfectly concealing the lower one.

Pay close attention because it all happens in a flash... move your right hand... apparently  to take the top card... now... at that moment... do it once more... move your right hand to the left to take the card ... now slide your thumb backwards, and draw back the top card, at the same time as you are taking the bottom card...good....

How does a normal player turn a card when he is dealing at stud poker or turning over a trump...? He takes the cards from the table with his left hand... he reverses his right hand... holds the face of the cards with his fingers and the back with his thumb and... he turns the cards before they are completely separated from the pack... no... a professional never uses the reversed hand position because it would be difficult to remove the bottom card without making a sound.... The left hand does all the work... the right one just hides it.

...Square the cards again... deal the card from the bottom... move it an inch or so from the pack... now turn it over... good.

Thank you and good night.

Note : Text of Programme 7

Text of Programme 7

Good evening... we present: 'A Man in a Room, Gambling'.

Today... following on from yesterday's programme, we will explain how to sort two cards in a pack.

A little warning before we start... we are going to do today's programme really slowly... when we speak of a "jog" in the overhand shuffle... that card which sticks out a little... less than a quarter of an inch... from the rest of the pack, all you have to remember is that the "in-jog" is the card sticking out over your little finger, and the "out-jog" the one over your index finger.

Now decide how many players will be at the table... four is the usual number... three if you prefer.

And remember that when you shuffle and sort cards like this at the table, you have to do it without looking at the pack.

Now, as on every evening... first take your pack..... Do an overhand shuffle while you are arranging two cards on top.... Cut approximately half the pack from underneath... set the top card at the in-jog... skip two cards less than double the number of players...now skip one leaving it at out-jog and shuffle the rest on top...Cut below up to the out-jog,  making a break under the in-jog... Skip one card less than the number of players...then with your left hand, drop in one batch... the cards that are there up to the break.... Skip as many cards as there are players...skip one at the out-jog... and shuffle the rest on top... Cut below the in-jog ... and finish the cut...

Now listen carefully... good luck.

In this way, the two cards arranged at the beginning... will go to the one who deals... for the first two rounds...

Thank you and good night.

Note : Text of Programme 8

Text of Programme 8

Good evening... once again, we present: 'A Man in a Room, Gambling'.

This evening we are not going to explain how a trick is done... because every gambler knows how to give himself one or two extra cards when he is dealing... Rather we will show you how to get rid of the extra card or cards you have in your hand.

Now, as on every evening... take your pack... shuffle it... deal... and (why not?) give yourself one extra card... choose which will be your cards... now you have your hand plus one extra card.... What is to be done with that card?... I wouldn't advise you to "go west" with it; that is, drop it in your lap or hide it up your sleeve or even throw it on the pile with your own discard... that is not artistic, it's dangerous and worthy of a beginner or a bungling amateur.

Before getting rid of your card you have to "palm it"... to conceal it inside the palm of your hand... and then put it back when you take the pack to deal a second time... so let's start again... take the full pack... shuffle it... deal... and again give yourself one extra card...make your choice... and now... put the extra card on top... take your cards as you would normally do when you square the pack... Bend your thumb below the centre of the top card and flush your other fingers with the top of the cards.... Place your right hand over the cards as if merely to square them... leave your thumb at the lower left corner.... Now with your left thumb push the top card over diagonally to the right side... your right hand is covering this move...press down slightly with your right little finger and... note how the top card... the extra one... note how, as it bends, it sticks to the palm of your hand.... Hold the rest of the cards by the thumb, fore and middle fingers of your right hand... leave the rest of your cards on the table when you discard... your hands are empty.... Move your right hand towards the table; natural and relaxed... and then palm the card... now take the rest of the pack to deal a second time... remember that the top card will be dealt first... and in poker, smile inside yourself and never on the outside.

Thank you and good night.

Note : Text of Programme 9

Text of Programme 9

Good evening... once again, we present: 'A Man in a Room, Gambling'.

We will start today's programme, if we may, with an apology. We have lost today's programme somewhere, in some little memory-pocket - or rather, we have lost the text that we intended to read but... anyway... seeing that we promised it earlier... we are going to explain the game that the courts and the police have really got it in for... the one known as the "Three Card Trick", or sometimes also as "The Mexican Row". Basically the trick is just a card-switch... a card-switch that everyone has seen at some time on their town's central streets.

Using a folding table or cardboard box covered with a cloth, the performer shows the faces of three cards and slowly lays them down in a row. He pretends to confuse the audience by moving them around on the table.... Next, by way of explaining the game, he shows the face of a card and then he turns it back over, he slips it beneath another card in such a way as to push it up until it too turns face-up. He then does the same with the third card.... We wouldn't advise you to bet, because your chances of losing are a hundred per cent. In the normal Three Card Trick that we explained last week, if the spectator bets without looking at the cards or at any of the action, the laws of probability will be two to one against him and two to one in favour of the trickster. He could conceivably break the bank.  But in this version the ace is never the card you point to, because the trickster on the other side of the table switches the card of his choice for the one you choose... and then switches that for the third card... when all he seems to be doing is turning them over.

Now let us go over it with the pack.... As on every evening, take your pack of cards... today you don't need to shuffle because we are only going to use three cards... remember that one of them must be an ace.  Take the three cards and lay them on the table... face down... one after the other... put one of them aside.... Now, take one of the two remaining cards in your right hand... hold it between the tips of your thumb and index finger, by the right side near the bottom corner with your thumb on top... slide the free side of this card beneath the right side of the card on the table, until two-thirds of it are hidden and all that is showing is one centimetre at the top end. The raised corner at the bottom of the card on the table is now resting against the tip of your middle finger... Now pay close attention... slide your thumb towards the corner of the card on the table, holding it against your middle finger... carry it a little to the right and turn the lower card with the tip of your index finger.

You mustn't show the slightest hesitation while you are doing this. When you slip the card in your hand beneath the card on the table and then turn the one in your hand as if it were the one on the table, you must do everything in a single movement.... Now, slide the card on the table under the third card... and perform the same switch.  The important thing is that you should not have any hesitation... any indecision.

Thank you and good night.

Note : Text of Programme 10

Text of Programme 10

Good evening... once again we present: 'A Man in a Room, Gambling'.

During recent evenings, we have told you about some artifices and subterfuges that you can perform at a gambling table. All we are talking about is the ability to take whatever cards, deal them out, and turn them into a winning hand....  A few times, in this short exposition on the art and science of expert card handling, we have followed the opinion of the Canadian master, S.W. Erdnase... that the professional is more in love with chance than with gambling as such.  And it is true: what mainly distinguishes the professional is that he is driven by his love of the act of gambling, while others are motivated by greed.... It is almost a rule that the beginner will win his first hand at a poker table, but will rarely have his money intact after the first hour....

Talking of cards, we have shown in these evenings how to join or separate them... and how to place them where you want while you are casually shuffling.... We have explained how to deal yourself an extra card and how to get rid of it in a natural and elegant way.... We have taught you how to do a false cut, and some of the ways of arranging cards while you shuffle.... In this programme, we are going to go over one of the routines again, though perhaps a little more briefly than we did last time.  More than any other, this is the artifice, which, if done properly, allows the professional gambler to increase his winnings so that he can then fritter them away. We are talking of dealing from the bottom of the pack.

As on every evening, take your pack... shuffle... remove roughly half the cards... because dealing from the bottom is not usually done with a full pack... it is easier and more effective when it is slimmed down.  It is a norm among professionals to wait until after the discard before dealing from the bottom... good... good.... Shuffle the half-pack again, but this time, as you are doing it, put one or more cards at the bottom of the pack....

Let's begin... hold the pack in your left hand... don't grip it tightly... your middle finger and thumb will do all the work... push the card out a little with your thumb... out, as if you were offering it for your right hand to deal... at the same time, bend your ring finger back until the tip is resting on the rim of the bottom card... don't worry... this will be hidden by the card sticking out at the top... now, push the bottom card a little up and sideways with your thumb... push upwards... notice that the top and bottom cards stick out of the pack in the same way... the top one perfectly conceals the bottom... good.... Let's continue... and now pay close attention because it all lasts a second... move your right hand as if to take the top card... and at the moment when your right hand reaches your left hand; at that precise moment... draw back your thumb and pull the top card back, while your right fingers take the bottom card.  Did you see?... did you see?...

Thank you very much for being with us.... Good night, and lots of luck.



Duration: 27’
Dedicated to Alexander Balanescu
Instrumentation: 2 violins ( with optional Korg M1 keyboard)
First performance: Sala del Arenal, Seville, April 19th 1992

Note : Die Letzten Tage (1992)

Die Letzten Tage (1992)

This set of violin duos was written for Alex Balanescu and Claire Connors to play at the opening of an exhibition in Seville in 1992 called The Last Days.The title of the exhibition came from the sardonic writings of the Austrian Karl Kraus, especially his satirical play The Last Days of Humanity (1922). The idea of the exhibition was to produce work for the end of the century, but quietly, in an anti-millennium spirit. The piece falls into 5 separate sections: "The Roman Ending", "The Venetian Beginning", First Intermezzo, Second Intermezzo and "The Corinthian Middle". I wrote this last section first, in 1990, for a performance by Alex with Liz Perry at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, though always with the intention of adding other parts.  Some of the sections have operatic connotations. "The Corinthian Middle" paraphrases material from my opera Medea, from the section where Medea seeks to find a solution to her conflict with Jason. "The Roman Ending" alludes to Rossini's perverse ending to his Otello for a performance in Rome, where Desdemona and Othello kiss and make up, and then sing a final love-duet (with equivalent perversity this is the first of the set of pieces). Both operas have connections with Venice: Medea having been commissioned by La Fenice but never performed there, Otello being set in Venice hence "The Venetian Beginning".

Although the pieces are technically difficult - multiple stopping, high register solos, accurate artificial harmonics - the music has a surface which suggests otherwise.



Duration: 15’
Instrumentation: basset-horn/bass-clarinet, violin, piano, electric keyboard (Korg M1), 2 electronic percussion
First performance: Jazzatelier Ulrichsberg, Austria, May 1st 1992



Text: 7th Century Northumbrian
Duration: 10”
Dedication: Mr. and Mrs. Haseley Ekers
Instrumentation: 2 violins, male voices (alto, 2 tenors, baritone, bass), organ
First performance: St Thomas’s Church, Wells (Ekers/Peake Wedding), August 1st 1992



Duration: 15’
Instrumentation: 2 violins, clarinet/bass-clarinet, electric keyboard (Korg M1), 2 percussion
First performance: Teatro Alameda, Seville, September 14th 1992

Note : Aus den Letzten Tage (1992)

Aus den Letzten Tage (1992)

In April 1992 I wrote a piece for two violins and optional synthesiser for an exhibition called The Last Days which opened the Seville Expo. The idea of the exhibition was to look at the end of the century in a non-celebratory way - in opposition to the nonsensical millennium approach. I called the piece Die Letzten Tage since it was the Austrian Karl Kraus whose sardonic writings informed the spirit of the exhibition. Aus den Letzten Tage  takes elements from this piece, changed in structure and modified for full ensemble.

 



Text: from Genesis A (7th Century Anglo-Saxon); Joe Chaikin/ Sam Shepard
Duration: 45’
Dedication: Peter Falk
Instrumentation: Soprano solo, Alto solo, Half Chorus, Chorus, Orchestra:
3(picc), 2 (CA), 2 + Bs.cl., 1 + Contra;
4, 2 (flugel), 3,1;
harp
percussion (3 players, see Percussion Note below for details)
Strings
First Performance: Royal Festival Hall, London, April 29th 1993

Note : Percussion for The War in Heaven (1993)

Percussion for The War in Heaven (1993)

2 Tam-Tams, 3 suspended cymbals, 2 sets tubular bells (large diameter pipes), 3 snare drums, 2 glockenspiel, vibraphone, 1 set 2-octave crotales, Bass drum.

NB. all players need bass bows.

(3 Players NB. these are in a specific "stereo" layout - left, right and centre of orchestra)

Note : The War in Heaven

The War in Heaven

The War in Heaven is a large-scale cantata for 2 solo voices (soprano and male alto), half chorus (BBC Singers), full chorus and orchestra. There are two different texts: one for the chorus and one for the soloists. The choral text is the opening section of the Old English (approximately 7th century) paraphrase of the first books of the Bible usually called Genesis A. I came across this when I set Caedmon's Creation Hymn - in 7th century Northumbrian, as part of the Cadman Requiem, written for the Hilliard Ensemble in 1989 and at least parts of Genesis A are probably also by Caedmon. What interested me about this vernacular poetry was that the opening lines of the Bible as we know it occur from line 113 onwards of Genesis A. I use lines 12 to 112 (plus one phrase from line 1) i.e. those lines that precede the Bible proper, a section usually referred to as "The War in Heaven" which deals with the Fall of the rebellious angels.

The solo voices sing, in 20th century English, a setting of a monologue that the American writer Sam Shepard wrote for Joe Chaikin. I had been very moved by the two performances of this piece that Joe Chaikin gave in the Leicester Haymarket's Studio Theatre in 1987, directed by my friend Simon Usher, during the period that I too worked there. This also deals with a fallen angel, but in a very different way, and it was the coincidence of its title, The War in Heaven, that gave me the idea of putting the two pieces together.

Apart from the opening and one unaccompanied section for chorus and half-chorus, the choir sings simultaneously with the solo voices and almost always in the original Anglo-Saxon of Genesis A, but occasionally they have a few words in contemporary English. Equally, on one occasion, the solo voices sing a short phrase in Anglo-Saxon.

The two solo voices are used in a variety of ways. Sometimes they have separate solo sections, sometimes they singing together in duets, sometimes they sing alternating lines or individual phrases, and in one part, sing alternative verses - rather like newsreaders on American television - in the only purely narrative part of the cantata where they describe the ultimately fruitless search for a "great man's" soul after his death. I chose these two solo voices (soprano and male alto) and specifically Sarah Leonard and David James because, on the one hand, I had worked with them several times in the past (both as individuals and within the context of the Hilliard Ensemble) and on the other hand because I wanted above all singers capable of singing with great purity. They each have voices of extraordinary beauty and power, and, as musicians, they are committed to music from all periods : from Early Music to music of our own day.

The orchestra is large though not enormous. The three percussionists, who play mostly tuned percussion instruments, are intended to be placed in a wide stereo perspective across the width of the orchestra (left, centre and right) and there are some instruments which are found in more than one location (there are Tam-Tams to the left and in the centre, marimbas on the right and the left, bells and glockenspiel at each side, and snare drums and suspended cymbals in each location).

The texts fall into a number of sections, dealing with different aspects of the narrative or emotional situation. However, the music is continuous and is not divided into separate movements, sections being delineated either by a change of atmosphere or by being collaged on top of each other. In spite of the apparently apocalyptic tone of the title, and the implications of the Anglo-Saxon text, the piece is not a religious one but focuses rather on the reflective humanism and ironies of the American text. The 'angelic fall' that is closest in character perhaps to this work is that found in Wim Wenders' film Wings of Desire, and especially in the part played by Peter Falk, to whom this piece is dedicated.

Gavin Bryars

1993

The War in Heaven

Text: from Genesis A (7th Century Anglo-Saxon); Joe Chaikin/ Sam Shepard

Duration: 45'

Dedication: Peter Falk

Instrumentation: Soprano solo, Alto solo, Half Chorus, Chorus, Orchestra:

3(picc), 2 (CA), 2 + Bs.cl., 1 + Contra;

4, 2 (flugel), 3,1;

harp

percussion (3 players, see Percussion for details)

Strings

First Performance: Royal Festival Hall, London, April 29th 1993

 

(in Percussion)

The War in Heaven (1993)

2 Tam-Tams, 3 suspended cymbals, 2 sets tubulars bells (large diameter pipes), 3 snare drums, 2 glockenspiel, vibraphone, 1 set 2-octave crotales, Bass drum.

nb. all players need bass bows.

(3 Players nb.these are in a specific "stereo" layout - left, right and centre of orchestra)