Heroes, Gods and Mortals

hymnThe Talisker Players’ latest show is pretty typical of what they do best; partner with some excellent singers and an actor to create an interesting program of words and music on a given theme.  Last night, as the title suggests, the theme was classical mythology; a rich enough seam for almost anything!  Most of the musical works chosen were twentieth century or later with only excerpts from a Pergolesi cantata harking back to an era that drew more heavily on these sources.

The first piece was Alan Hovhaness’ Hercules for soprano and violin performed by Carla Huhtanen and Elizabeth Loewen Andrews.  This was so very Hovhaness; haunting, disturbing and very beautiful.  It seems as rooted in the pre-classical world as the Heroic Age but perhaps that’s just a kind of timelessness.  It’s a perfect fit for Carla and the violin playing was beautiful too.

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La voix humaine

Poulenc’s La voix humaine is as a rather peculiar little piece.  It’s only 40 minutes long and it features a single singer, a soprano.  It’s not exactly a monologue as what we hear is one end of a telephone conversation with implied contributions from the woman’s lover, the telephone operator, the lover’s manservant etc.  A lot of what happens is an artefact of the French telephone system at the time (1928) that Cocteau wrote the play that supplies the libretto with operators, party lines, dropped calls etc.
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