ED HUGHES (b.1968): When the Flame Dies.
Catalogue Number: 12P082
Reference: msv 77203
Description: When the Flame Dies is about the unique creative figure that was Jean Cocteau, presented as an ingenious amalgam of biography and symbolism taken from Cocteau's own work, especially his retellings of the Orpheus myth. The Poet's younger lover, here identified as Raymond Radiguet, has died; the Poet is distraught, and cannot write; through encounters with Death and the characters of the Orpheus story he first chooses love over creativity, ultimately reversing his decision and selecting a future containing the works he has yet to write. Hughes' agile, multi-layered score has great dramatic momentum, with a rich, tonality-based, highly chromatic but not especially dissonant sense of harmony and bold, eloquent vocal lines for the soloists, emotionally intense and expressive. A brief electronic interlude assembled from synthesized and transmuted found sounds is the only remotely avant garde element; the rest of the piece isn't like that at all, although there are some subtle instances of electroacoustic enhancement. The work was filmed live, in concert-style presentation; the staging consists of projected images behind the ensemble, occasionally superimposed over the musicians or shown full screen during instrumental episodes, but mostly the film presentation is of the performers, with emphasis on the singers. The CD seems to be exactly the same recording. DVD offers 5.1 surround or stereo, option of libretto as subtitles (also printed in the booklet), and a short bonus track; an experimental animated film set to Hughes' Chamber Concerto I. Libretto included. Edward Grint (baritone), Lucy Williams (mezzo), Julian Podger (tenor), Emily Phillips (soprano), Andrew Radley (countertenor), New Music Players; Carlos del Cueto. CD+DVD