On November 9th 2018, from sunrise to sunset, we performed Four, a Cantata loosely based on the theme of the four seasons, traced through the life-cycle of a leaf, a collaboration between Billy Mills (text), and David Bremner (music).
The choice of a day-long performance came from a wish to really engage with the gradual changes that a year encompasses. This is often difficult for those of us who live busy, short-term-oriented lives. So we chose to use the day as a microcosm for the year. We hope that the environment, changes in the light over the day, the work’s complex organism with gradual transitions and recollections of earlier moments can make this an interesting way of reflecting a larger structure. For those participating it will be an experimental, experiential form of listening.
Mills’ desire is for the text to embody the processes being described, so there’s no distinction between form and content; both music and text actually enact the subject matter of the poem. The music explores the idea of contour, the vague shape of a melody, as a way of displaying similarities, family resemblances, between overtly different manifestations. Thus the whole piece grows from initial material while keeping the same inherent substance. There is a live electronics component which allows the same processes to play out in a randomised way.
Performing as ensembÉal are: Lina Andonovska-Baroque flute, Lisa Dowdall-viola d’amore, Elizabeth Hilliard-soprano, Bryan Quigley-double bass, David Adams-harpsichord, Raymond Keane-speaker, David Bremner-piano and live electronics, with video by Mihai Cucu and the audience taking on the role of community choir.