Hayes, Morgan: Dictionary of London. Soprano and Piano.
Commissioned by NMC in celebration of its 20th anniversary
1st perf: Loré Lixenberg (soprano), Jonathan Powell (piano), Kings Place, London, 3 April 2009
For his contribution to the songbook commissioned from more than 100 British composers to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the leading new-music label NMC, Morgan Hayes has chosen words from the Dictionary of London: An Unconventional Handbook by Charles Dickens, Junior (1839-1896), little known scion of the great novelist, who also wrote dictionaries of Paris and of the river Thames.
For soprano and piano, this playfully ironic song consists of three brief episodes to words taken at random from the collection. First, there is a warning against the peril of carriage thieves. Then there is praise for the Lord Mayor’s show as a welcome pageant for the ‘lower working orders’. The song ends with a grand description of the gentlemen members ‘of the first distinction and character’ who belong to the ‘Oriental Club, 18 Hanover Square’.
Singers will welcome this unusual addition to the contemporary vocal repertoire, which will receive its first performance at Kings Place, London on 3 April 2009, performed by soprano Loré Lixenberg and pianist Jonathan Powell. Dictionary of London has also been recorded on the 4-CD boxed set, The NMC Songbook.