Previews

In the weeks leading up to the GUO production of Song of Contagion at Wilton’s in June, Tony Haynes is posting a series of short tasters describing his music for the show and introducing some of the performers. See also Tony’s own monthly blog .


  • Preview 4: The Silent Wound

    Get your Song of Contagion tickets from Wilton’s box office

    The most harrowing episode in the show describes the experience of different people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or ‘shell-shock’. They include a refugee mother and child, a conscript soldier in Africa, and here combatants in the Pakistan/Bangladesh war:

    Their experiences are first described in song, woven together, and then – as is often my practice in my music for Grand Union – dramatised instrumentally, with jazz soloists embodying the characters:

  • Preview 3: Music and Graphs

    Get your Song of Contagion tickets from Wilton’s box office

    One of the compositional challenges I faced in this project was how to translate statistical data into music. I describe in the scenario how I wanted to tell the story of HIV/AIDS by converting a graph into a musical score. Here is a fascinating example in reverse: as the score moves across the screen, it looks a bit like a graph! There are three groups of three instruments (trumpets, saxes, trombones), playing identifiably different lines, which you can see and hear quite clearly:

    I also wanted to find a way of expressing in music a more abstract idea that characterised our early workshops – debate or discussion. Here is an example: a soprano saxophone (Chris Biscoe) converses with trumpet (Claude Deppa) and alto saxophone (Tony Kofi); perhaps you can also hear vox pop (tuba) rumbling underneath?

    If you’d like more detail, explore here!

  • Preview 2: The Ruined Towers

    The final section of Song of Contagion is about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – ‘shell-shock’. It begins with a brief evocation of a devastated city in a war-torn region, anywhere from Eastern Europe to Central Asia in the last 60 years:

    PTSD affects civilians and combatants alike. One of our stories is based on the experience of a refugee and her daughter, and will be sung by Maja Rivić, seen here performing a song from Undream’d Shores:

  • Preview 1: The Street Remembers…

    Wilton’s Music Hall is in Cable Street, in the heart of London’s East End, the setting for the show and home of many of its performers. Cholera, the first of our subject-diseases, was rampant here in the early to mid-nineteenth century. This is how singer Davina Wright introduces the evening:

    Interwoven with the story of London – where the construction of sewers eradicated the disease – is a parallel narrative set in Kolkata, where cholera is still rampant, and Indian voices clamour for fresh water: