I’ve been on research leave from University over the last few months. I’ve written a sax and percussion duo Shuffle (more on that soon I hope) and nearly finished the editing of a new 45-minute poetry-music piece with the wonderful poet Luke Wright called The Driver. We will premiere this piece in February with an orchestra of students at Turner Sims in Southampton. The gig is free (details in Events)!
The piece narrates the life of a driver from behind the wheel, taking in the ring roads, flyovers, service stations, leisure parks, motels and lay-bys of England. It’s both a travelogue of England’s least glamorous places and the story of a break-up, a love poem to being away and our ability to keep on going. It’s sad, celebratory and caustic with all the squalor and romance the road has to offer.
The music I’ve written sometimes underscores Luke’s poetry, and sometimes comes to the fore. It draws on a range of music from England including some medieval polyphony shared with me by my ace colleague Amy Williamson as well as music by Purcell (linked up to me by Andrew Pinnock) and Parry. There’s also recordings from inside a car, including recordings I took driving up to Fleet Services with a posh microphone in the passenger seat back in 2019!!
It’s been great working on this project with Luke and been a long time coming as we started it before the pandemic. I’m grateful to the Department of Music for helping make this happen and super excited to share The Driver with the world!