Through incorporating spoken narration into their programmes, Counterpoise has resurrected the forgotten genre of melodrama. The medium of spoken narration and musical accompaniment was taken up, often within larger works, by Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Weill, Walton and others. Of the works commissioned by Counterpoise from leading composers of our own day such as John Casken, David Matthews, Edward Rushton, Charlotte Bray, Jean Hasse and Ross Lorraine, some reinvent the genre of melodrama, other fuse music with film or video in innovative ways.
This début disc presents four representative examples from the repertoire we have fashioned for ourselves, including two of our commissioned ‘melodramas’ and features narration by Eleanor Bron and Donald Maxwell.
Counterpoise is a highly acclaimed ensemble consisting of some of the most sought-after instrumentalists in the UK. It was formed in 2008 to give the first performances of ‘On the Edge’ by Edward Rushton, with the aim of crossing musical genres, exploring the relationship between music, poetry and visual elements, and seeking also to develop aspects of narrative and other extra-musical influences. The ensemble has since then commissioned and premiered works by several leading composers, including those on this recording.
Counterpoise has appeared at the City of London, Buxton, Cheltenham and Newbury Festivals, as well as other signifi cant venues up and down the country including Kings Place, London, and St George’s Brandon Hill.
For texts and further information on Counterpoise visit: www.counterpoise.org.uk
John Casken: Deadly Pleasures
1) Cleopatra’s Challenge; Flavius, the Old Soldier; Kriton, the Youthful Musician; A Nameless Man
Benjamin Britten: Six Metamorphoses after Ovid
David Matthews: Actaeon
8) Actaeon encounters Diana; Metamorphosis; The Hunt; Epilogue
Benjamin Britten, arr. Iain Farrington: Cabaret Suite
9) The Spider and the Fly
10) Funeral Blues
12) When you’re Feeling like Expressing your Affection