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Samuel Beckett – with music

With guest artists Helen Howard and Michael Futcher, Brisbane new music ensemble Kupka’s Piano will present the Australian premiere of Samuel Beckett’s radio play Words and Music with score by Morton Feldman on 15 July 2017.

Sloth, love, ageing, and the meaninglessness of words themselves are explored in Words and Music, a play by Samuel Beckett. The work casts music as an actual ‘character’ (although often also called Joe), who works with and sometimes against, ignores and sometimes taunts Words (often called Bob) as he gets lost in doubt-filled reflections, rambles, and songs. Interjecting throughout this strange dialogue, a third character, the inexplicable Croak, implores the two characters to “Be friends!” but it is clear that this relationship is an impossible one.

The music, written by American minimalist Morton Feldman and added to the radio play in 1987, provides an eerie and often sarcastic counterpoint to Beckett’s wordplay. Set for a chamber ensemble of two flutes, three string instruments, piano and percussion, Feldman’s score was added as a tribute to his friendship with Beckett and was amongst his final compositions.

Words and Music will be performed completely in the dark and behind a curtain to preserve the intended platform of a radio play and will be followed by Feldman’s complementary work Why Patterns for flute, piano, and percussion as a postlude.

This production is a collaboration between new music chamber ensemble Kupka’s Piano and Brisbane-based actors Helen Howard and Michael Futcher.

Words and Music is presented at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts and the Queensland Music Festival.

Kupka’s Piano is a collective of musicians and composers committed to celebrating the latest classical music from Australia and around the world. The ensemble uses a variable formation of instruments in the presentation of new works, with core members composing and performing on flute(s), clarinet(s), cello, piano, and percussion and electric guitar. Kupka’s Piano has developed a strong community profile both locally and nationally—filling a much-needed gap in Brisbane’s music scene—and was the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts from 2013-2016.

Kupka’s Piano is: Jodie Rottle and Hannah Reardon-Smith, flutes; Macarthur Clough, clarinets; Katherine Philp, cello; Alex Raineri, piano; Angus Wilson, percussion; Liam Flenady; composition/guitar

Presented by Queensland Music Festival, Judith Wright Centre, and Kupka’s Piano Saturday 15 July at 7.30 pm. Duration 75 mins, no interval. Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, 420 Brunswick St (cnr Berwick St), Fortitude Valley

Tickets $35 / $3. Bookings or 07 3872 900

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