The Glass Blew In - 1994
- Title: The Glass Blew In
- Choreographer:Siobhan Davies
- Choreographer Comments:choreographed for Siobhan Davies Dance
- Dancer:Amanda Britton,Gill Clarke,Paul Douglas,Sean Feldman,Jeremy James,John Kilroy,Paul Old,Deborah Saxon
- Dancer Comments:John Kilroy and Paul Old replaced Paul Douglas and Jeremy James for the 1995 tour with Wild Translations.
- Music:Gavin Bryars
- Music Comments:I wrote Three Elegies for Nine Clarinets in 1993 as a gift to Roger Heaton following a particularly tricky project in France where, as with all my players, he responded without flapping, under great pressure. I had been commissioned to make an installation in the Chateau d'Oiron in South West France. The work involved recording music in different spaces in and around the castle and to then replay them in a "listening room", which would be a kind of acoustic map of the castle. Because of the nature of the space and the environment, the only time when we could record was between midnight and 4 AM. I would write music during the day and record that night, but I felt a little guilty about the pressure that this placed on Roger and Dave Smith, the two members of my ensemble who worked with me. Afterwards I said, rashly, "I owe you a piece" - which is the Three Elegies. Roger liked the piece and planned to include it on a CD of clarinet music he was preparing. Once the piece existed, however, he mentioned it to Sue, with whom he was working, and she wanted very much to use it for her dance. In writing the piece its length was not a consideration - it was a freestanding piece of music - but, at 19 minutes duration, it was about 4 minutes too short for the purpose of the dance (which I had never envisaged of course). Roger explained this to me, and felt a little awkward about asking for more - rather like feeling iffy about an unwanted Christmas present. But rather than have the dance start with 4 minutes of silence before the start of the piece (even though the clarinet entry at the beginning is almost from nothing) I was happy to add an extra section at the beginning for unaccompanied solo clarinet, and to dovetail this into the piece, where the last long note of this prelude overlaps and cross fades into the opening note of the original work. So this four-minute prologue was written specially for Sue's piece - and is not included in the version that Roger recorded for Clarinet Classics.
Ironically, some time afterwards, Roger told me that this solo was one of the hardest pieces of mine he had ever played. I said "it serves you right..."
Gavin Bryars, Billesdon, June 5 2009
- Sound Score:Three Elegies For Nine Clarinets (1993)
- Musicians:Roger Heaton (clarinet)
- Designer:David Buckland
- Lighting Design:Peter Mumford
- Sound Engineer:Ron Thomson
- Costume Designer:Antony McDonald
- Costume Maker:Angelina Pieroni
- Summary:Davies and the dancers began rehearsals by looking at many examples of calligraphy; how a calligrapher waits, holding the pen, before finding the right moment to make a fluid and accurate mark; how the calligrapher balances the hand and moves the pen and is able to alter the line from thick to thin. The design involved a perspex square placed on the stage to become a frame for the dancers to enter and work within. They worked with a continuous shift of weight in their bodies to draw their own physical marks.
- Analysis:‘The Glass Blew In raises questions about the balance between the figurative and the abstract – between qualities that are human and emotional, and those to do with shape, texture and tone. The piece is a sensuous, poetic interplay of colour, pattern, dynamic and sound, in which each element has equal weight...Mumford has marked out the stage with a rectangle whose floor is, at different times, a wash of green, violet or magenta...It gives full rein to Davies' fascination with borders. She presents her dancers not only inside the rectangle, but also on or outside its demarcation, like paint spilling over the edges of a canvas...She is consummately served by Bryars' score, Three Elegies for Nine Clarinets...which acquires depth through its cumulative multi-tracking, rhythmic phrases running parallel to sustained lines of melody. This reaches a climax about halfway through, the musical surface expanding into a multitude of dappled notes. Then Bryars gradually reverts to simplicity' (Nadine Meisner, The Times, May 1994).
- Production Date Original:1994
- Tour:with Wanting to Tell Stories:
03/05/94 - 04/05/94 - South Hill Park, Bracknell
10/05/94 - 11/05/94 - Connaught Theatre, Worthing
19/05/94 - Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (with White Bird Featherless)
23/05/94 - Towngate Theatre, Basildon
04/11/94 - 05/11/94 - Sadler's Wells, London
14/11/94 - Octagon Theatre, Yeovil
19/11/94 - Wyvern Theatre, Swindon
with Wild Translations:
22/05/95 - 23/05/95 - Mercury Theatre, Colchester
other dates TBA