POINT OF ENTRY - for baritone and piano/ baritone and large orchestra

Song-cycle commissioned through English National Opera’s Contemporary Opera Studio

Collaboration with sculptor Bill Woodrow and poet Selima Hill on the subject of war. Originated as a group of six sculptures and poems for exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. Fashioned through a search for a composer for the work at ENO's studio, Bill Woodrow commissioned the composition of the song-cycle written in response to both sculpture and poetry. Six songs:

1. Caterpillar
2. First Chair
3. Refugee
4. For Queen and Country
5. Un till the Land
6. Point of Entry

First performances:
Baritone and piano -
Sir Jack Lyons Theatre, Royal Academy of Music, London
Baritone: Benon Maliszcewski
Piano: Philip Sunderland

Baritone and large orchestra -
Victoria Rooms, Bristol
Baritone: Roland Wood
Conductor: Jonathan James
New Bristol Sinfonia

Duration: 23 minutes

Song 1: Caterpillar - click to enlarge

Song 1: Caterpillar

Bandages woven in love
rock sleepy men in dreams

that drift like curlews cries
towards a blue-eyed girl

who stands against the sky
in a dress made entirely of sand.

<b>Song 2: First Chair</b> - click to enlarge

Song 2: First Chair

The egg the small boy’s offered’s soft and warm,
like the brown-lipped snails
the romans used to eat,

(Until recently, no-one even noticed –
we have delivered its triggers
all over the Northern Hemisphere),

the bowler’s saying,
as he catches a ball above the small boy’s head
with outsize gloves.

(Until recently, no-one even noticed –
we have delivered its triggers
all over the Northern Hemisphere).

Loganberries sink in tepid cream
as swallows fly like lizards from the eaves.
Bring the chair in, darling. Sleepy-time!

(Until recently, no-one even noticed –
we have delivered its triggers
all over the Northern Hemisphere).

<b>Song 3: Refugee</b> - click to enlarge

Song 3: Refugee

The tallest is a man who’s got no nose.
We see him every morning on the bank.
Everywhere he goes he takes his cart,
as if it were some kind of heavenly dog
you can’t just shout “Go home” to. Here he comes,
wheeling it along the wall towards us,

down into the barn where we were born –
his speckled face as brown as his long coat
that used to sweep the concert halls of Europe
to thunderous applause. It’s over now.
The only sound this morning is the calves,
Their beds of straw still warm; and honey-bees.

<b>Song 4: For Queen and Country</b><br /> - click to enlarge

Song 4: For Queen and Country

She’s found out I’m in hospital up here;
She tells me that she wheels me around

her pungent lakeside gardens in her dreams
so we can smell the cherry trees together.

I don’t feel like a hero,
I feel like a child someone’s lied to,

or like a stone that someone lonely’s lost.
……And I never knew she even noticed me!

<b>Song 5: Un till the land</b><br /> - click to enlarge

Song 5: Un till the land

That night, after feeding the horses,
I took the path that curled
along the stream, through buttercups,
up to the widow’s house;

and I climbed the stairs to her room,
and found her lying there,
as I found her every evening,
as still and sweet as apples;

and, standing by the window
above the rolling fields,
like someone on a small ship
who dreams of gold,

I saw a tall figure
I did not recognize
cut, with his dark plough,
the fields’ moonlit throats.
cut, with his dark plough, the fields’ moonlit throats.

<b>Song 6: Point of Entry</b><br /> - click to enlarge

Song 6: Point of Entry

The river has run dry.
The air is still.

The man is lost.
The nurses say he’s ill.

The children ask them
why he’s still alive.

The nurses say
the bravest men survive.


Programme notes

To read full programme notes in Wod 'doc or Word 'rtf' format click below

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