BETHIA

TRUMPET, MALE CHORUS, CARILLON, PIANO, SYNTHESIZER & TAPE · 2016-17


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To capture the essence of a modern city; its people, history, idiosyncrasies, intangible soul and unique spirit, is no mean feat. But in Daniel’s Bethia, we can palpably feel the city of Kingston upon Hull. Water sloshes up against the old Humber and Railway docks and seagulls screech and glide over the water. An early morning fog lingers in the narrow winding streets. Shimmering electronics and twinkling split piano chords give the music a spectral feel as the ghosts of this region’s maritime past hum the shanties, work songs and hymns of years gone by. “Fare you well” murmurs this phantom chorus wistfully, remembering with pride that Hull marina was once a hive of shipping, whaling and fishing activity. For centuries, the sea has given this city imagination, spirituality, wealth and hardship. We hear Hull Minster’s carillon bells in the distance, ringing out over the city as they have done since 1777; a sound synonymous with the city’s industrial heyday but one which also connects Hull’s past to its present and future.

In her autobiography, the experimental artist and musician Cosey Fanni Tutti described her hometown as, “buzzing with energy and an expectancy of a better life.” She observed the people as having a “pervading sense of self-survival and a confrontational and uncompromising attitude.” This is a community uniquely shaped by its history and looking, in its own way, to the years ahead. Investment, renovation and artistic activity during the City of Culture celebrations will hopefully help propel Hull forwards towards a bright and creative future. We hear this optimism in the second half of Bethia. The tide turns, the chorus swells then fades, the tempo gathers speed and a muted trumpet, a sound so umbilically linked with this region, sings through ethereal and meditative electronic effects. It’s an enchanting and nostalgia-tinged sound world. This is a love song to the city’s past, present and future. What treasure will wash up on these shores next? How should the city approach this next chapter in its story?

Programme Notes by Elizabeth Alker · Broadcaster, BBC Radio 3.

* * * *
“…luminous simplicity [..] a meditation on Hull’s past in video and music.” — Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph

1 C TRUMPET
1 CARILLON

or additional keyboard sampler*


4 MALE VOICES

(TTBB)

1 KEYBOARD SAMPLER

amplified Kurzweil sampler or Native Instrumentsʼ Kontakt software via on-stage monitor*

TAPE

*A sampled version of the Carillon is available as Native Instrumentsʼ Kontakt instrument and is available for hire from Music Sales.

DURATION: 12 MINUTES
COMMISSIONED BY THE BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE
PUBLISHED BY MUSIC SALES
HULL, 2016-17