The averted : for six solo voices
by Andrew Ford (2010)
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For the best part of a decade, Roland Peelman nudged away at me to compose a setting of a Les Murray poem for The Song Company. The fact that it didn't happen earlier might suggest reluctance on my part. But not a bit of it. Les Murray is one of my favourite poets. For what my opinion's worth, there is no greater poet writing in English today. But his work is generally so full of music -- often the music of informal speech -- that I find it impossible to imagine adding my own music.
Then I came across the volume The Biplane Houses (2006), which has on its first page a short poem, just one sentence long, entitled 'The Averted'. The diction is rather formal, verging on the declamatory (which is always useful in a musical setting), and I liked the melancholy sentiment. I immediately texted Roland to tell him I'd found a poem I could set, and within a matter of days, he had told me when the first performance would take place. There was no getting out if it. The only problem remaining was how to turn lines that take about ten seconds to read into a (rather longer) piece of music.
Instrumentation: 6 solo voices: SSATBarB.
Duration: 6 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Nigel Butterley. Dedicated to Nigel Butterley at 75
Commission note: Commissioned by Rev. Dr Arthur Bridge.. Commissioned on behalf of Ars Musica Australis
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