I've started another listening project, this time the Vaughan Williams symphonies (with a couple of extras).
The Early Stroll Songs represent - among other things - a trip through the seasons of the year.
Richard, the composer, has selected the 20 or so tweets (there are 13 songs in all, some of them have two Tweets; one has one-and-a-half!) which make up the lyrics so that they follow a cycle from autumn, through winter and spring and into summer, back to the beginning point as the leaves are "waiting for Autumn's starting gun".
It's a lovely way of giving the whole work a unity and direction, and also allows Richard to use his musical imagination and technique to bring some beautiful moments to the set of songs. There's the crispness of a winter morning, the heat of the summer, the pent-up excitement of spring, plus a few touches of local calendar-related colour.
In the summer we meet some pigeons and a cat chasing birds; in the spring look out for the shafts of sunlight. Of course, all the tableaux that are formed by the Tweets are early morning ones, so there's often that sense of freshness, gloominess, shaking-the-sleep-out-of-eyes-ness (that word's almost a Tweet in itself) in the songs.
How to portray all this is something that I've been thinking about quite a bit. You'll have to some to the performance on October 11th (in St Georges, Bristol) to see what I've actually made of it, but I hope that whichever of my current plans I eventually put into operation makes sense and adds to the effect.
I'm performing the premiere of the Early Stroll Songs at St Georges on 11th October. Tickets from here