Eat and be eaten : vocal sextet
by Jennifer Fowler (2000)
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Eat and Be Eaten is a collection of songs for 6 singers and harp. It was commissioned by The Song Company of Sydney. It lasts for about 50 minutes.
The collection revolves around the subject of food in all its significance. The subject matter allows for a range of moods, from deadly serious (literally) to humorous. It is not forgotten that while one creature is indulging in the enjoyable bit - the eating - often it is another creature which is being eaten!
Several themes recur: the apple features as a catalyst for the expulsion from the Garden of Eden in Adam Lay, and also as an illustration of the growth cycle of seed-plant-bud-flower-fruit-seed in The Apple Tree. Greed is represented by Little George who is a small boy who can't stop eating. His course is paralleled by Big George who builds a business empire with dodgy takeover bids. The theme of over-consumption and its perils occurs again in Drinking Song. The cyclical nature of the food chain is illustrated in The Apple Tree and On Ilkley Moor; and The Swan presents the point of view of the about-to-be-eaten.
The longest, central song From Conception to Birth explores the balancing act set up between a pregnant woman and a growing foetus. The nourishment and survival of both follows a different agenda but is interdependent. In this case the nurture of the foetus plays a risky strategy against the depletion of the mother's resources. A further ironical strand is added by the (male) voices of brash medics.
Instrumentation: 2 sopranos, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, harp (in Introduction to Adam Lay, From conception to birth and The swan, optional in On Ilkley Moor). Adam lay, Little George, Big George, and On Ilkley Moor may be performed by chamber choir ; soprano soloist required for From conception to birth ; The swan is for tenor voice with harp ; Drinking song is for TBarB (one or more per part) ; Drinking song 2 is for baritone and bass singers (one or more per part).
Duration: 50 min.
Contents note: Introduction to Adam lay -- Adam lay -- Little George -- The apple tree -- From conception to birth -- Big George -- The swan -- Drinking song -- On Ilkley Moor -- Drinking song 2.
Commission note: Commissioned by The Song Company.
Sources of text: Adam lay - Medieval lyric ; Introduction, Little George, The apple tree - based on traditional text ; From conception to birth, Big George - by the composer ; The swan - Carmina Burana, medieval Latin, translated and adapted by the composer ; Drinking song - text taken from a 13th century French/Flemish motet, translated and adapted by the composer ; On Ilkley Moor - traditional, Yorkshire ; Drinking song 2 - Amphis (4th century BC) translated by Tony Harrison.
Drinking song 2 can be performed as an optional item (eg. encore item) as part of the song cycle.
Song cycle containing 9 songs, with 1 optional encore song. Individual songs may be performed separately. Can be performed with more than 1 voice per part.
Awards & Prizes
|2001||Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize||Highly Commended||Jennifer Fowler|
Article: Women of note
by John Carmody — © News Limited
Source: Source: Courier-Mail, 4 September 2001, pp.13
- In the form/style of: Song Cycles
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