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Three Interludes

(2018) 9'
For orchestra
1 The Deep; 2 Shore; 3 Fleet


I composed Three Interludes as musical research for my first opera, before writing any of the vocal music. Composing these three short pieces allowed me to make early explorations of musical material for the opera. The interludes are standalone works, but they also provide means for depicting character, place and action within the opera.

The first interlude is performed as an underwater city, The Deep, is revealed; a futuristic, technological dystopia in which people live below the surface of the ocean in a tightly controlled, automated and authoritarian society, never seeing the land and sky above.

The second interlude, Shore, depicts Kai, the protagonist of the opera, being washed up, semi-conscious, on a coastline. As she comes around, she is confronted by an ugly, polluted wasteland instead of the paradise she is desperate to see. Devastated, she turns to leave and return to her oceanic home, but in doing so she realises she is not alone.

The third interlude, Fleet, (which appears before Shore in the opera) describes Kai's journey from The Deep to a viewing platform where she can see and hear the land and the sky. She has heard stories of the beauty of the surface of the Earth and yearns to feel the air on her face, to hear birdsong. However, visiting the surface is forbidden for ordinary citizens of The Deep, she has to move quickly if she is not to be discovered! MB

Articles & reviews

Mark Bowden on Writing for BBC NOW at 90 / Steph Power / Wales Arts Review
‘the second Shore movement was particularly effective as an illustration of a desolate polluted wasteland and will doubtless seize the attention of an opera audience in the theatre’ / Seen and Heard International
Live BBC NOW Contemporary Evenings 1 / Nigel Jarrett / Wales Arts Review

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