Laurence Crane, who teaches composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, was commissioned by EXAUDI vocal ensemble in 2014 to write a new work for them. Initially he wanted to use words that had been written by a famous American artist, who had engraved the words onto a metal sculpture, but Crane was denied permission to use the text.
Instead, he made the decision to write a text based on the email denying him permission, while concealing the artist’s name from the score. What you hear in the first movement of this 2-movement work is a piece all about a composer’s struggle to get permission to set a text. There are sections of wordless music, perhaps suggesting that if permission had been granted, then this is where the artist’s words might be. For the second movement, Crane was finally successful in obtaining permission to use a text. This movement is a setting of passages from Michael Bracewell’s essay on the British artist John Stezaker.
This 15-minute piece will be performed twice, with a short Q&A session with the composer between the performances.
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Juliet Fraser, Rebecca Lea soprano
Lucy Goddard mezzo-soprano
Tom Williams countertenor
David de Winter, Ben Alden tenor
Nicholas Ashby, Jimmy Holliday bass
James Weeks conductor