Burmese pictures

Inglis, Brian (2010) Burmese pictures. [Composition]

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Abstract

Burmese Pictures for recorder ensemble was co-commissioned by Joshua Htet (for a Burmese charity concert at Christ Church Spitalfields in May 2010) and by Gabriel Prokofiev (for the album release Tangled Pipes on his record label, Nonclassical). The context of the concert premiere required some engagement with Burmese culture, while the brief for the album asked for a piece which would be ‘short, punchy and rhythmic’. Faced with reconciling these disparate imperatives, I unearthed some cadential formulae from Burmese harp music in the Grove dictionary which seemed a fruitful source for melodic-harmonic material. From my Burmese informant, however, it became apparent that Western pop and rock music (especially from the 1980s) was much more popular in the country than traditional music. In alignment with the album brief, references are included to 80s synthpop bands such as Soft Cell (in terms of melodic shape) and the Pet Shop Boys (basslines), alternating with the Burmese-inspired material. The overall result is a series of sound images designed to create a musical impression of the country as perceived from outside, but linking Burma to the West - in a sense a follow-up to my earlier Japanese Pictures for clarinet, viola and piano (1994).

Another (optional) layer is provided by the integration of spoken-word texts originating from both Burma and the West (but relating to the other in each case), from George Orwell’s Burmese Days and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Letters from Burma. The use of spoken word over music - as in my piece The Tyger Voyage (2007) - is linked to the sound-art concept of the ‘found object’ or ‘readymade’.

Following its premiere and release, Burmese Pictures was extensively toured by its dedicatees, Consortium 5, to festivals such as Deal, Truck and Spitalfields; and venues including Kings Place and St George’s Church Bloomsbury.

Item Type: Composition
Additional Information: Premiere Performance: Consortium 5, Christ Church Spitalfields Fournier Street London E1 6QE, 15/5/2010 Recorded on Nonclassical NONCLSS 008 (released 7/2/2011); first broadcast Radio 3, 9/1/2013. Performances, 2010-2012: St Mary's, Stoke Newington 20/10/2012 Colourscape Festival, Bath 19/08/2012 Nonclassical, Troy Bar 02/02/2012 Truck Festival, Oxford 22/07/2012 Spitalfields Festival 15/06/2011 King's Place 17/01/2011 St George's Bloomsbury 20/12/2010 The Albany, Deptford 18/11/2010 Nonclassical, The Horse & Groom 07/10/2010 Deal Festival 06/07/2010 Christ Church Spitalfields 15/05/2010
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
Item ID: 11765
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Teddy ~
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2013 09:18
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 08:43
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/11765

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