Friday, 18 September 2015

audrey (a choral ekphrasis)

by Josephine Stephenson
text by Ben Osborn
performed by The Portrait Choir
National Portrait Gallery, Sept 18th/19th

written for the National Portrait Gallery's exhibition Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon

"The text was written as an ekphrasis on Audrey Hepburn, perceiving her solely through a multiplicity of images. Looking at them it can feel, in time, like we are getting further and further away from the person beneath: we are shown, instead, a striking face and body both manipulated and manipulating, a framed gaze that draws attention to our own, a looped image that distorts as it is magnified.

The music was written as a direct response to the text, giving it precedence and striving to reflect its content: it is characterised by having a circular shape at both micro and macro level (small looping circular cells as well as an overall Rondo structure), while its mellow harmony occasionally tends towards eeriness."

- JS & BO

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