Between Worlds

2014

by Tansy Davies


‘A fabulously inventive aural fabric: exploding shards of sound frozen in a kind of cosmic aspic. That spiritual quality results from the composer’s expressed resolve to salvage vestiges of humanity from unspeakable horror…a resonant, multi-layered work… A poignant acrobatic tableau, depicting the final release of a soul, lingers in the memory.’



The London Evening Standard (Barry Millington), 13 April 2015



 



‘The vocal settings trace the shifts in diction without awkwardness, while the orchestra submerges everything in shimmering, jittering continuities which build up a musical version of the kind of inverted vertigo experienced when one is near a tall building, looking up. The aeroplane strikes themselves, eerily prepared by a sudden change in the Shaman’s muttering to a piercing, high-pitched whine and refracted by the chorus chanting from the Requiem liturgy, sent the orchestra into wild paroxysms of hyper-activity which grind the present into an excruciating, lurching continuity. Davies also proves herself wonderfully adept in marking out shifts in the perception of time, using exaggerated rhythmic profiles to spur on the drama before dissolving them into oases of reflexivity.



The opera’s most beautiful moment occurs at the end, in a dance between the sister and the suspended corpse of the Younger Man. The pair twirl, to music of gentle movement and unspeakable intimacy…The fact that the opera made its presence felt at all, creating  something so beautiful and troubling against a backdrop of something so awful and upsetting, speaks volumes about the artistic talents of all involved.’



The Times Literary Supplement (Guy Dammann), 17 April 2015



 



‘Towards the end, the platform on which the characters stand shifts ever so slightly, and an uncanny groaning sound comes from Davies’s modest-sized orchestra. This hint was all we needed… The music never shrieks at us. The desperation ruffles the surface of Davies’s music, which remains essentially meditative…a remarkable piece of work.’



The Telegraph (Ivan Hewett), 12 April 2015



 



‘Davies at times reaches that place of emotional embodiment that only music can capture, and wraps it in a dark yet cathartic embrace.’



The Arts Desk (Jessica Duchen), 12 April 2015



 



‘Davies’s delicately-inflected sound-world creates an all-embracing ambience…The psychological truth of this inexorable drama comes across with awesome power... Davies suggests sonic immensity through abrupt musical understatement... This beautiful and extraordinary work leaves you transfixed. It may be an operatic debut, but it announces Davies as the most original new voice in the game.’



The Independent (Michael Church), 12 April 2015



 



‘A tremendous score, intense but carefully balanced. [Davies] evokes the utterly bewildering sense of unreality, manipulating time and somehow creating a space beyond and apart… [It] may well come to be seen as one of the crucial music-theatre pieces of its age.’



Opera (Stephen Pettitt), June 2015



 



‘A distinguished score by a young composer whose style, at once stark and beautiful, bespeaks a genuine operatic voice… After the devastation, a virtuosic sequence where fleeting high-note figures flutter like debris above sustained low basses strikes me as music of the highest order.’



What’s On Stage (Mark Valencia), 16 April 2015


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