Dante goes to Oxford

This will be the fourth performance of our Dante exploration, in its stripped-down version which responds to specific images from the three parts of Dante’s sequence – Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise – with music and dance. The show includes my study of Purgatory, That Second Realm, written with choreographer Susie Crow, as well as a short flute piece Luce sì vivace, which together with Roxanna Panufnik’s beautiful quartet This Paradise, completes the final part.  Earlier on, Hell is vividly represented by Ligeti and Cheryl Frances Hoad.

It’ll be performed in Oxford, on November 28th, in the chapel of Mansfield College.  This wonderful space, with its glowing stone, warm light and open spaces is absolutely perfect.

That Second Realm

The dance piece I talked about in the last post (‘Dancing Uphill’) is now finished and choreographed and has a name – That Second Realm.  The choreography by Susie Crow is fantastic, not only for its refined and searching response to Dante, but also for its strong emotional power. I’m also delighted by the way that she has worked with my score.  It’s being superbly performed by eight dancers from Cambridge Contemporary Dance, together with an outstanding ensemble of 6 musicians.   It’ll be part of a big evening of Dante-related pieces of all kinds – music, theatre, poetry, sculpture, dance, film – in Robinson College, Cambridge, on April 25th.

Music by Jeremy Thurlow.

Dancing Uphill

I love contemporary dance, and have long wanted to collaborate on a new dance piece. So now I’m very excited to be doing just that. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be writing a piece with choreographer Susie Crow, from Ballet in Small Spaces, and the excellent dancers of Cambridge Contemporary Dance. The inspiration for our piece is the second part of Dante’s Divine Comedy: Purgatory. We’re still looking for a title – the word purgatory itself has a fusty sound and doesn’t exactly make the heart leap… – but the ideas, of persistence, movement, striving, transformation, redemption, certainly have great resonance today as much as ever.

The piece will be performed in Robinson College on Saturday April 25th as part of an exciting new collaborative venture imaginatively put together by Robin Kirkpatrick, a great Dante enthusiast and a distinguished poet and translator. The whole evening will comprise a multitude of new pieces drawing together film-makers, actors, musicians, dancers, composers, poets, choreographers, painters and sculptors. Our piece will trace a spiralling and rising progression which music and dance will literally work their way across a wide lateral space, in a process of catharsis and fulfilment.