Samuel, Rhian: A River. Soprano, Baroque or Modern Oboe, Harpsichord and Bass Viol or Cello
Text by Anne Stevenson
For A River, Rhian Samuel has turned once again to the writings of Anne Stevenson, and has selected verse from her collected Poems, 1955 – 2005. The work is scored for soprano, baroque oboe, harpsichord and bass viol, though modern oboe and cello may substitute for the ‘authentic’ instruments. Commissioned by ‘Music in the Village’, Walthamstow, London, and first performed at St Mary’s Church, Walthamstow on 21 February 2008, A River exploits the unusual timbres and textures suggested by this ensemble. Eighteenth-century practice is echoed in the duets of voice and woodwind, but there are also challenging solos for individual performers. The piece would make an excellent addition to early music concerts exploring connections between baroque and contemporary music.