Hayes, Morgan: E Vesuvio Monte
1st perf: EXAUDI, James Weeks (cond), Aldeburgh Festival, Orford Church, 20 June 2010
Written for the outstanding vocal group Exaudi, E Vesuvio Monte is a graphic musical scena that describes the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD in the famous eyewitness account of Pliny the Younger. Eight solo voices project fragments of a Latin text in a dramatic montage evoking Roman fortitude in the face of terrifying disaster. With its strongly projected moods of violence and stillness, Morgan Hayes’s music is an ideal medium for this subject, and E Vesuvio Monte was enthusiastically received at its world premiere at the 2010 Aldeburgh Festival.
Words from a first-century poet describing a volcanic explosion seemed extraordinary for a choral setting – or did he have Iceland in mind? Whatever the inspiration EXAUDI demonstrated extraordinary vocal skill in a musical eruption.
Michael Drake, Eastern Daily Press, 21 June 2010
None of the new pieces equalled Sciarrino’s [12 Madrigals] for vividness, nor matched the brilliant mix of narration and evocation of the other miniature in the programme, Morgan Hayes’s 2010 E Vesuvio Monte.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 23 October 2012