I am currently working with composer Lisa Illean on a new 20-minute work for voice and pre-recorded sound, to be premiered in September 2018.
Observed patterns of tapestry in the natural world — such as foliations in wood or stone, or the ‘lashtender combs’ of ash trees — occur frequently in the highly personal poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. A through-grown earth draws on three of Hopkins’ texts, creating intimate settings for voice, pre-recorded sound and (optional) moving image. Composed in non-tempered tunings, the work demands a discreet virtuosity as it explores the subtle edges of the voice, its tuning and sonority.
Here is just one of Gerard Manley Hopkins's beautiful poems:
Not of all my eyes see, wandering on the world,
Is anything a milk to the mind so, so sighs deep
Poetry to it, as a tree whose boughs break in the sky.
Say it is ashboughs: whether on a December day and furled
Fast or they in clammyish lashtender combs creep
Apart wide and new-nestle at heaven most high.
They touch heaven, tabour on it; how their talons sweep
The smouldering enormous winter welkin! May
Mells blue and snowwhite through them, a fringe and fray
Of greenery: it is old earth’s groping towards the steep
Heaven whom she childs us by.
Lisa and Juliet would like to thank Australia Council for the Arts, its Arts funding and advisory body, the Britten-Pears Foundation, Anne Denholm, Sound and Music, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Leverhulme Trust and ACE.