Wednesday, February 28, 2007


" Weary with toil, I haste thee to my bed"

This was a game of two halves; the first exhilarating, the second depressing. It was a mere 13 out of the 154 sonnets, set to music; the first four were competently read by actors and then beautifully sung by Anna Maria Friman and John Potter, with the fifth sonnet strikingly intoned by former Virgin Prunes frontman Gavin Friday, a menacing, pierced, platform-heeled Goth.

So far,so good. However, the reading of all eight sonnets in the second half was rashly and ruinously entrusted to Friday; he performed at a desk huskily hunched over the microphone, cupping his spare hand close to his face like a Berlin night-club singer. As a result, it was impossible to hear a word, and the words matter. Gavin Bryars' music was good.

Michael Billington wrote in The Guardian,

"Bryars heads for the sonnets dealing with memory and mortality, establishing a dark sound-world based around violas, bass clarinet and electric guitar. A video accompaniment by Pippa Nissen adds a further atmospheric dimension: yet no amount of cross-genre eclecticism will ever match the richness of the sonnets themselves."

Personal Star Rating [out of five] First Half ***, Second Half *


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