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Shadowplay

Part II from Music Theatre Triptych
Text adapted by Kenneth Cavander from the seventh book of Plato's 'The Republic'
Edition: Performance material

Product Details

Description

Shadowplay forms the second part of Goehr’s Music Theatre Triptych (the first, Naboth’s Vineyard, was written in 1968). The action was invented as a counterpart to Plato’s text, taken from the 7th Book of the ‘Republic’. Like the other two 20-minute parts, it can be performed as a separate work. In an underground chamber, men are shackled so that they cannot move. Behind them burns a fire and between fire and prisoners is a wall with a high road built along it. On this road people pass carrying objects of one kind and another. Some talk, some are silent. So the prisoners believe that these shadows constitute a real world, which they learn to recognise and differentiate. One prisoner is released. At first he associates the reality of the light he has never seen with the pain of his body which he has pulled out of its habitual posture. Forced into ‘the world’, he at once hankers after the illusory world of the past and is unconvinced of the wonders of the real world. Returned to the chamber, he is now blinded in reverse. The light of the real world has spoilt his eyes for the subtle differentiations of the illusory. Nor is he able to convey what he has experienced to his fellows.
The concept of 'music theatre' was developed by Goehr, Birtwistle and Maxwell Davies in different ways in the late 1960’s, but they had basic features in common: a small ensemble of singers and players, an actor/mime, a director. The composer provides the music and some of his own background imagery and then collaborates with the creative team, so although the score is fixed, a new dramatic interpretation may result every time. Written with great economy of means, they are fragile, yet universal.

Orchestral Cast

afl.asax-hn-pno-vc

Cast

Narrator · tenor - Prisoner · actor

More Information

Title:
Shadowplay
Part II from Music Theatre Triptych
Text adapted by Kenneth Cavander from the seventh book of Plato's 'The Republic'
German version by Frederik Prausnitz
Language:
German, English
Edition:
Performance material
Publisher/Label:
Schott Music Ltd., London
Year of composition:
1970
Opus:
op. 30
Duration:
20 ′
World Premiere:
July 8, 1970 · London (UK)
City Temple Theatre
Festival of the City of London 1970
Narrator, Philip Langridge; Prisoner (actor), Terence Knapp; Judith Pearce, alto flute; Alan Hacker, alto saxophone; David Gray, horn; Christopher Van Kampen, cello; John Constable, piano · Conductor: Alexander Goehr
Original staging: John Cox · Set design: Bernard Culshaw
(scenic)
Commissioned work :
commissioned by Sir Ian Hunter for the 1970 City of London Festival
Series:

Technical Details

Product number:
LSL 1849-03

Performances

Set Ascending Direction
  • Shadowplay
    zeitfenster 2004
    Conductor: Jürg Wyttenbach
    Orchestra: Klangforum Wien
    April 2, 2004 | Berlin (Germany) , Postbahnhof am Ostbahnhof
  • Shadowplay
    Conductor: Clark Rundell
    March 4, 1994 | Manchester (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , Royal Northern College of Music
  • Shadowplay
    Orchestra: University of Leeds students
    November 17, 1982 |
  • Shadowplay
    Orchestra: University of Leeds students
    November 17, 1982 |
  • Shadowplay
    Cheltenham Festival
    Orchestra: University of Leeds students
    July 11, 1976 | Cheltenham (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
  • Set Ascending Direction

    More from this series

    Music Theatre Triptych

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