Philip Venables

numbers 91 – 95

numbers 91–95 is the first of several ‘settings’ of the poems of Simon Howard, whose work I find incredibly inspiring. To me they are unfussy, evocative, violent and visceral. Absolutely the qualities I look for in music.

However, this setting is more of an accompaniment: it doesn’t try to mess with the immediacy of the poem. The themes of nostalgia and forgetting in the poem are echoed by the feint, crackly recordings of the two tape players. The calmness of the poem is reflected in the quiet meditativeness of the music.

numbers 91–95 was commissioned by Ensemble Adapter, Berlin, to be premiered by them at the 2011 Wien Modern Festival and then in several concerts in Prague, Oxford and Berlin. Funds for the commission were generously provided by the Bliss Trust.

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