Tag Archives: Poetry

The Driver

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!

Hidden Lives and Unvisited Tombs – 3.00pm, 5th December

I’ve composed some recorded music and will be improvising live for ‘Hidden lives and Unvisited Tombs‘ at St Pancras Church crypt next Saturday 5th December.  Our performance, which is directed by Rachel Warr, is part of an exhibition and performances put on by Scary Little Girls and will kick off at 3.30.

Recordings of EMFEB Gigs

Couple of recordings from gigs in April – many thanks to the wonderful EMFEB and conductor Ben Ellin.

Colonel Crampon Goes Off – recorded at the Poetry Cafe
Poem written and read by Luke Wright and my musical response played by EMFEB – thanks to Luke for working with me on this:

Colonel Crampon Goes Off by ben_oliver_music

Variations on a Theme by Handel – recorded at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in April

Variations on a Theme by Handel by ben_oliver_music