The go between (between shadows)

Chambon, Philip and Marston, Cathy (2002) The go between (between shadows). (viola electro-acoustic combination). London : Sheet music (viola part), compact disc. (Unpublished)


The dance was based on the 1953 L.P. Hartley novel 'The Go Between' (1953). In undertaking this composition, my aim was to research how sound could evoke complex relationships between intense human emotions and historical perspectives, based on the opening lines of the novel: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” I decided to create an electro-acoustic piece for audio CD and live viola. The electro-acoustic element would allow me to manipulate contrasting textures while the live viola would represent the human emotions and physically connect the audio with the dancers. It would, in effect, act as a go between. The score, written for solo viola and tape, both evokes the sounds and atmosphere of a country house (e.g. ticking and chiming grandfather clock, footsteps on polished wooden stairs) and responds to specific events in the story, such as a country dance (evoked by a jig played on the viola). The choice of viola as the live instrument was governed by my feeling that the viola has a potentially big rich sound but too small a body to achieve it, equating with young Leo’s confusion and lack of understanding of the complex adult emotions that he was experiencing. There is a ‘misfit’ quality about the viola, again reflecting Leo’s role in the ordered upper class environment he found himself in. I felt that its natural slightly hollow ‘musty’ timbre would be ideally suited to complementing the electro-acoustic evocations of both the physical and emotional aspects of oppressive country house life in the early 20th century.

Item Type: Composition
Additional Information: Commissioned by the Royal Opera House and choreographed by Cathy Marston. Performed in the Clore Studio Upstairs, Royal Opera House, London, 13-16 May 2002.
Uncontrolled Keywords: composition, dance, viola, electro-acoustic, contemporary, British
Research Area: Music
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017) > School of Performance and Screen Studies
Depositing User: Rebecca Read
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2007
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2008 17:21

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