Holdsworth/ Strahan : Past Life Recall
PAST LIFE RECALL another CD from Revolve Composer/Writer Derek Strahan has created an unusual 'spoken word' CD of Verse & Music Works, presented as proto-dramas enhanced with soundscaping by Sean Peter and Bob Scott, and employing the acting talents of Amanda Holdsworth and Derek Strahan. All the verse is intended for future use as libretti for musical compositions. 'Lucifer Dialogues' (from 'Eden In Atlantis') is a narrative drawn from the libretto for the first opera in Strahan's proposed cycle of 4 operas on the rise & fall of Atlantis, and includes music already written for this project. Other texts are based on libretti for song-cycles. The concept for this CD is adapted from a procedure common in past musical eras, when new libretti were 'read' to familiarize people with a composer's 'work in progress'. As a writer, Strahan has worked on television, writing for 5 years on the team of TV serial 'Number 96' and in film creating 'on the edge' psychic dramas 'Leonora', and 'Inspector Shanahan Mysteries - Cult of Diana' (shown in Australia on Channel 9) and 'Fantasy' (released by Columbia TriStar on video in Australia). He has drawn on his experience in film and TV to create intriguing fictional scenarios for this CD. Relationship dramas of contemporary life in which the Devil lurks contrast with an alternative version of the Adam & Eve story, where the serpent is Lucifer, a dissident scientist banished from his homeland to the primitive community of Eden - in the days before an asteroid strike on earth brings to an end the Golden Age of antiquity! As a composer Strahan has released over 30 CDs of his music for concert and film on the Jade & Revolve labels. Notes by the composer/librettist: More details about 'Lucifer Dialogues' and other verse on this CD. 'Lucifer Dialogues' is a verse & music work adapted from a libretto I have written titled 'Eden In Atlantis', this being a development for the first in a proposed cycle of four operas on the subject of antediluvian civilisations - The Atlantis Project. The aim of this exercise is to give an impression of the dramatic content of the proposed first opera through narrative and dialogue, and of it's proposed musical content through excerpts from my compositions: both featured and used as underscoring. I have been composing music and libretti for this project for over a decade now, creating material for The Atlantis Project in most of the music commissions I have worked on over the past decade - chamber, concert and film music. In 1990 the Australia Council assisted me in composing an Atlantis work commissioned by flautist Michael Scott - 'Atlantis' for flute/alto flute & piano - which was premiered* at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, given in a Masters Degree Recital by Ms. Belinda Gough, one of Mr. Scott's senior students. (*Her brilliant performance with pianist Jo Allan was recorded and was released on the CD 'Voodoo Fire' JADCD 1063) Opera Australia (Australia's national opera company) has consistently taken a friendly interest in the project, kindly introducing me to the splendid soprano, Liza Rintel, who premiered and recorded* my 25 minute Scena, 'Eden In Atlantis', working in collaboration with flautist Michael Scott and pianist David Miller, AM. Excerpts from their premiere performance of 1996 are heard on this CD. (*as released on 'Eden In Atlantis'JADCD 1074) In this re-visiting of the Adam & Eve scenario, the serpent is characterised as Lucifer, a dissident scientist who has been banished from his homeland for revealing forbidden knowledge to the common people. He has been exiled on an island where society is organised on matriarchal principles, and is ruled by Iahu, the tribal matriarch and mother of Adam. (The name Iahu is an earlier female version of the name Jehovah, as given in Sumerian records. Ref. 'The Greek Myths', Robert Graves, Penguin, Revised 1960.) The Dialogues are linked by narrative. They include **Lucifer's statement of his unrequited love for Eva (a proposition suggest by Josephus in his commentary on Genesis); **Eva's problems with Adam, who is jealous of her romance with, Daemon, a young man who, in character and by name, is a nature spirit; **Iahu's condemnation of the romance of Eva and Daemon; **Daemon's death through Adam's conspiracy; **Love dialogues of Eva and Lucifer during the hours preceding the destruction of Eden by fire (by an asteroid strike on the earth). **Lucifer's defiance of the gods in the face of global cataclysm. 'London letters, 1960' contains reflections in verse on various events of sociological and/or romantic significance, some frivolous, some illusory and some portentous. 'First Encounter With The Devil' and 'Experiences With The Anima' have already been published in print 'Public Poetry Volume One' (Crucible Books 1987) which can be acquired online at Prints Products. This 139 page volume contains verse by 21 Australian poets, all of which was heard at readings at a series of weekly gatherings which took place in the mid-1980s at Watson's Bay, a harbourside suburb in Sydney, Australia. These were organised by one of the poets, David O'Brien, and were of a lively and congenial nature, resulting in publication of the anthology mentioned above. 'Past Life Recall' was also heard at these. The impetus to write these three works came from my wish to contribute to these events, but they were also, all, primarily designed as libretti for proposed song cycles. I hope, meanwhile, that they also stand on their own as verse. The narrative content of these poems derives from work I was doing at the time on various projects: a feature film, an opera libretto as well as song cycles.* The situations depicted in all of the works on this CD are fictitious. The emotions depicted are based on reality in that they are common to romantic entanglements of the kind that most humans experience during their mortal existences. In 'First Encounter With The Devil' and 'Past Life Recall' I attempt a Rashomon-type** exercise - offering contrasting mirror images of the same fictional scenario. *One libretto from this period, 'Rose Of The Bay', was set to music on a commission from the distinguished mezzo-soprano Lauris Elms, whose perrformance of the song cycle was recorded by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and has been released on CD. **'Rashomon' is a Japanese film (1951) which gave four different versions of the same violent event, representing the viewpoints of different participants. The MGM musical 'Les Girls' (1957) used a similar narrative device in treating a romantic contretemps.