The scene: An office at RTE headquarters. Mr Fennessy is explaining hisThe above conversation may not have taken place but I swear to god the music is as described. If you don't believe you can see an interview of Fennessy on YouTube where he freely admits all this. Except the bit about danger money....
latest project to his sponsor.....
RTE: So how's it going ?
Composer: Great! I'm just putting the finishing touches now. I've added a selection of Japanese gongs to go with the Harp.
RTE: But don't you also have 8 double bases?
Composer: Yes - there's no point in doing anything by halves. Actually I think 8 is a minimum....
RTE: A Minimum? Won't it be a little ... basey?
Composer: Not really - the double bases are needed to balance the augmented percussion section in the room next door to the stage.
Composer: The extra percussionists. They'll be in a room next to the auditorium and will be playing as well.
RTE: Ummm, won't that confuse the audience? Isn't one of the unwritten rules of Classical Music that all the people playing the music be in the same location as the audience? And the conductor for that matter?
Composer: But rules are made to be broken! Having all the orchestra actually in the orchestral venue is a pointless tradition that has long outlived its usefulness. With the piece I've moved beyond melody and harmony. They weren't adding anything. Not only that, I've eliminated the ludicrous requirement that the instruments complement each other when played. At one point I even have the Harp, the Japanese gongs, all eight double bases and the percussion section in the next room all going at once!
RTE: Isn't there anything conventional about this piece?
Composer: Well, at the very end the string section suddenly breaks away and starts playing harmoniously for about thirty seconds. It's a doomed yet beautiful act. Sort of a musical equivalent of the Warsaw Uprising. Then the piece ends.
RTE: So let's get this right - we've given you licence payer's money and you've written this?
Composer: Yes. Actually we'll need a bit more cash. Some of the musicians are demanding Danger Money to play it. They are concerned about the audience reaction.
RTE: But no normal person is going to want to listen to this...
Composer: So it'll fit well with your other stuff then?
RTE: Hmmm.. We do Property Porn, Reality TV shows about people who don't drink, Reality TV about schools nobody cares about, startlingly predictable current affairs programs...Yes, I can see a fit...
Monday, February 8, 2010
I don't normally do classical music reviews, but after surviving the premiere of David Fennessy's aptly named new work 'Bodies' feel I have to. I have to wonder how much RTE knew about the piece before it was premiered - One imagines the conversation would have run like this: