Deuxième Observation: for The Hermes Experiment
The text for Deuxième Observation is adapted from a 1908 report from French psychologist Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault. The article observes three women who were arrested for stealing silk from department stores to use for their sexual pleasure, fabrics that were discarded once used. Deuxième Observation focuses on the second of these women from 1902, the anonymous femme F.
The text for the piece is formed in two parts. The first part is a setting of Clérambault’s diagnosis of F's mental health conditions, each one tinged with a certain archaic, masculine-centric, fin-de-siècle ideology. The second sets F’s own account of the theft which not only illuminates her intentions for stealing but also her physical experience of the sensations of silk.
Malakbel: for Orchestra
The smell of sand and gunpowder drifts through marble pillars before the break of dawn. The air is quiet and the breeze floats along the cobbled streets of the ancient city of Palmyra. Malakbel rises from beneath the cloth of the Syrian desert, bringing warmth to the new day, for a moment at peace. A grand city comes into view, a place of commerce and prosperity, water and food, an oasis in the centre of a barren and desolate land.
The Palmyran people may now be long gone and their city a shell, devoid of life. But Malakbel is older than the sand itself, and though names may change and die, gods themselves do not. The temples once built by humans to worship him millennia ago now lie in pieces, pulled apart by men of another faith. Time does not exist in myth, and beneath him, Malakbel sees all: the Roman city full of life, the ruins of a town that once was, the execution of archaeologists aside black and white flags. The hope of the Syrian people to rebuild.
A Sketch of Slow Time: An Opera in One Act
Set in 1908, "A Sketch of Slow Time" takes its subject from the scandalous affair of between Arnold Schönberg's wife, Mathilde, and his best friend, the painter Richard Gerstl. Inspired by surviving letters from the time, this new work combines visual art, music, and drama to explore the psyches of these prominent artistic figures, as the catastrophic consequences of their choices ensue...