Gravesongs

An incomplete work of Patrick’s dated 27 January 2014.

Setting up the Festival for 1995, it seemed a good idea to commission a new work to celebrate the centenary of Robert Graves’ birth.

For the tenth anniversary of the festival, back in 1988, Carl Mansker wrote an opera with a libretto based on Jakov Lind’s story called Hunger. Carl was to receive the box office receipts from the one performance in the Teatro Principal.  It didn’t quite work out the way we thought.

(expand)

Then Tomeu, a local composer wrote a piece for soprano and string quartet.  Stephanie chose the text from a translation of Lamps of Fire, a translation from Sanskrit by her friend Joan Mascaró.

(expand)

This time it seemed appropriate than an English composer should set some of Graves’ poems to music.  I thought it would be good to add to the small but interesting repertoire by such composers as Samuel Barber,  Lee Hoiby, Jay Ansell, Ury, among others.  I already had collected several scores, enough for half a concert program, and wrote to English award-winning composer Michael Blake-Watkins.  I had a copy of his piano quintet, and liked his style. The British Council approved funds to pay the composer. The new work should be about twenty minutes.  Michael was already choosing texts, while Stephanie was ready to make suggestions of love poems.

The hitch came when Robert’s son William, who was organizing a series of events for the anniversary refused to give permission for any poems to be set to music.

(expand)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.