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Origami Letters
Nine songs for tenor voice and piano/string quartet.



In the Spring of 2009 I received a packet of letters written on sheets of coloured and patterned Origami paper. In a world where the art and practice of letter-writing seems to be diminishing in favour of the e-mail and the text-message, the mobile call and the Skype Internet exchange, an envelope of letters was a treat, a rare gift. A dear friend, now a textile artist of some distinction, was completing an academic assignment whilst staying in her childhood home. Over three days and two nights she wrote letters on the back of origami paper full of gentle observations of her home, springtime, of children, of family celebrations, and walks under the broad skies and panoramas of Lincolnshire.

I returned this gift with a sequence of poems meaning to set them to music for tenor voice and string quartet. The scoring was inspired by The Juliet Letters, a collaborative song cycle devised by the Brodsky Quartet for Elvis Costello. My setting was completed later in 2009 for the tenor Mark Padmore and the Brodsky Quartet. But like Paul Hindemith and his Das Marienleben settings of Rilke I was unsatisfied by this setting and in 2014 rewrote the whole work. Instead of resetting the poems ‘as is' I made quite substantial changes and cuts, not just to the text as a whole but the way I treated the flow of words, this time using repetitions and re-orderings to create emphasis and musical effects.


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Nigel Morgan, Prudential Buildings, 55 Westgate, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 1BW, United Kingdom Tel: 01924 383017 e-mail: tonalitysystems@mac.com

This website and associated content 2013 Nigel Morgan unless otherwise stated.