fretted sounding-boards
for mezzo-soprano and piano

Instrumentation:

mezzo-soprano and piano

Words:

‘A brief History of the Piano’ by John Fuller

Duration:

13' 35"

Year of composition:

2015

Commissioned by:

The Centre for Modern Literature and Culture of King’s College London

Premiere:

Angelica Cathariou (mezzo soprano) / Dominic Saunders (piano), Arts & Humanities Festival 2015: Strung with Poets’ Sinews, The Chapel, King’s College London, 16 October 2015

Published by:

Recorded by:

Angelica Cathariou (mezzo-soprano), Dominic Saunders (piano), of gold and shadows, vol. 2, LORELT, LNT142

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.

S.M.

Angelica Cathariou (mezzo), two excerpts