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Literature has inspired some of composers’ most poignant creations, whether by providing programmatic shape, imagery, rhythmic and sonic material or pure inspiration. This collaborative project celebrates literature as the muse for music, recalling pre-classical Ancient Greece’s concept of Mousike (Art of the Muses) which contained both word and sound. Central to our programme is the evocative Oneiroi by young UK composer Charlotte Bray, inspired by descriptions of these gures thought to have populated dreams in Ancient Greece. Neal Farwell’s ‘Shroud’ deconstructs texts of George Mackay Brown, and rearranges them into pure sound, while Frederic Rzewski weaves a text of Homer, into a striking duet with flowerpots for solo percussionist. Onur Türkmen’s Hat explores commonality between music and literature in the shape of calligraphy and the notion of line and abstraction common to both music and that ancient art form, while Michael Ellison’s Ariadne’s Thread weaves a labyrinth of subtle paths through the piano and percussion’s registral terrain. Two new commissons, one to Mert Kocadayı, and one to UK composer Benedict Todd, reveal young Turkish and UK composers’ responses toeach’s poetic literature —on David Gascoyne, Can Yücel and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, respectively.

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From Word to Sound

Literature as Muse in 21st century composition 


Hezarfen Ensemble

Müge Hendekli - Piano

Amy Salsgiver - Percussion

Cem Önertürk - Flute

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