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Program note: In the shrubbery

  • Tony Bremner
  • Source: The Song Company Music and the Environment 22 & 23 April 1993

In the shrubbery Tony BREMNER (b.1939)
Browsing one day through Shrubs for your Garden by the English writer Peter
Seabrook I came across a line with a zippy rhythm and jotted down a tune for it.
The idea for an idiotic cantata came to me - movements in different styles for the
various shrubs, for small chorus and chamber music ensemble (it is finance which
is responsible for the piano duet version tonight). I wrote the first movement,
starting at the point where the piano now enters, and went on to compose other
movements, but gradually began to feel that something was lacking. Then one day
I began to speak the opening chorus through in rhythm and a friend pointed out
that I sounded absurdly like a lift operator or android tour-guide, and the narratior
was born - this dreadful, bossy woman. The piece is dedicated to David Pitkethley
who invented the narrator. The cantata consists of eight sections:
I   lntroductory remarks  V Potentilla
II  Abuse of shrubs        VI  PhiladelPhus
III Choisya                   VII Magnolia
IV  Buddleia                  VIII Finale