for mezzo-soprano and piano
mezzo-soprano and piano
‘A brief History of the Piano’ by John Fuller
Year of composition:
The Centre for Modern Literature and Culture of King’s College London
Angelica Cathariou (mezzo soprano) / Dominic Saunders (piano), Arts & Humanities Festival 2015: Strung with Poets’ Sinews, The Chapel, King’s College London, 16 October 2015
fretted sounding-boards is a setting of John Fuller’s prose-poem ‘A Brief History of the Piano’. John Fuller wrote to me that in his poem
the historical dimension is neither sharply insisted upon, nor, I think, particularly traceable in either individual composers or schools of composers. But I did want to use the celebrated descriptions in the calibration of Torricelli’s barometer to trace some aspects of the development of pianistic style. They seemed so suggestive! I ended up deciding to leave it to the interpretations of individual readers which is Clementi, which is John Field, is that Liszt in there, and so on.
Each of the five sections of my setting is introduced by a vocalise anticipating certain richly sonorous words of the ensuing paragraph: a sort of magical spell conjuring a mood, that eventually finds confirmation in the barometer reading as each paragraph of the prose-poem comes to life.