Two Interludes and a Scene for an Opera

(2006)

by Jonathan Harvey

Description
soprano & tenor soloists, chamber ensemble of 22 players with live electronics
Duration
25
Genres
Mixed Chamber Ensemble, Soprano, Tenor
Instrumentation
1(=picc.).1.2(I=A+Bb, II=A,Bb,bcl).1(=cbsn) - 1111 - perc(2): mar/crot/guero/2 BD/2 gongs(c20", c24"))/mcas/rainstick(for trumpet)/tam-t/2 tibetan bells (slung)/t.bells/spring coil/vibraslap/glass chimes(small)/bamboo cluster(med-high)/mark tree/2 susp.cym/snare drum/4 wdbl/4 tom-toms/3 bowls/2 light, high drums of skin or thin wood for fingers - harp - electronic keyboard - strings: (4.2.2.1) - Electronics (3 or 2): 8 or 6 channel system/digital mixer/1 or 2 Mac computers with soundcards/Wacom Graphic Tablet/16 MIDI faders/Clip-on mics for all instruments and several close mics for percussion/CD Rom of patches and cue list in MAX/Msp
Commission
n/a
First Performance
25.3.2006, Grande Salle, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, France: Ensemble Intercontemporain/Susanna Mälkki
Availability

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
TWO INTERLUDES AND A SCENE FOR AN OPERA - libretto by Jean-Claude Carriere. These Interludes appear in my opera Wagner Dream, and were the first sections of the opera to be composed. The opera is based on the moment of Wagner's death. It is a moment that contains thoughts about the Buddha, and Wagner's opera project on the beautiful legend of Prakriti - the humble peasant girl - and Ananda - Buddha Shakyamuni's cousin and disciple. Wagner's last words as he was writing an essay, when interrupted by his fatal heart attack, were ruminating on this legend. The first interlude is the heart attack and the journey Wagner's mind takes immediately after, through the Clear Light, through the 'thousand thunders'. In Buddhism, the state of mind at death is crucial for determining the nature of future existence. The scene is somewhat later in the opera and is part of the unfolding drama of Die Sieger, the Buddhist legend project. It is a 'classical' moment, a formal statement of the two young principal characters. There is a narrative aria from Ananda and an answering Ballad from Prakriti. From this still point of formality the drama (filtered through the dying Wagner's imagination) later in the work takes off into adventures of the mind in its state of coma. But first there is the second Interlude, in which Prakriti's desire for love and for transcendence through love begins to manifest itself. The piece is a slow dance of attraction between the two characters, though they never touch. The 'Scene' leads straight into this second Interlude without a break. A wide range of live electronics is used, as well as some recorded sound. Each instrument can be and at times is treated with electronics, individually, polyphonically or in groups. The electronics for the Interludes were realised with the programming and help of Carl Faia. Funding for research into electronic treatments was generously provided by the Gulbenkian Foundation and Arts Council, England. The Interludes were commissioned by the London Sinfonietta. The electronics for the Scene (and the rest of the opera) were commissioned by IRCAM, Netherlands Opera and the Grand Theatre, Luxembourg. Gilbert Nouno was and is the programmer and sound designer for this enormous task. Jonathan Harvey/Faber Music 2006

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