Tuesday 10 May 2011

Disappearing Boxes, on Studio Akustische Kunst, WDR3, Germany

Broadcasting on Friday 1st July, 23.05, on WDR3, Germany.

At the age of 12 , with no formal musical training, I wrote my first opera. This was followed over the next three years by ten further operas. The local newspapers described me, perhaps a little prematurely, as “Teesside's answer to Mozart”.

Between the ages of 12-16 I wrote ten operas, a symphony, two cantatas, and countless songs & instrumental music.

At 16 I abruptly abandoned composition and music entirely. At this point I decided to become a stand-up comedian, a line I pursued for the next five years before, eventually, returning back to music via electronic means.

Due to various circumstances, multiple changes of accommodation, and the many boxes of music-manuscript being stored in various people's attics, all of the music I composed as a teenager has, to all intents and purposes, disappeared.

I didn't write another opera until the age of 30.

Last year I found an audio cassette of an interview I took part in on local radio in North-East England, at the age of 13, about an opera I had composed, a farce that took place in a pizza parlour. Aswell as the interview the tape also features a MIDI recording of the Overture to that opera, the only surviving fragment of all my teenage compositions.

"Disappearing Boxes" is an impressionistic attempt to retrospectively analyse this mass of invisible operas that may never see the light of day. The work will attempt to explore the mindset of a teenager suddenly compelled to spend the majority of his time composing operas, whilst simultaneously exploring the medium of opera historically and culturally.

Part detective-tale, part musical analyses, part autobiography, part art-history, this piece will fuse the personal with the theoretical, using radio to delve deep into the way the creative process works.

From WDR3:

Mit 16 Jahren beschloss der junge Mann aus dem Nordosten Englands, Standup-Komiker zu werden. Bis dahin hatte er seine Pubertät zum nicht geringen Teil mit dem Schreiben von zehn Opern, einer Symphonie, zwei Kantaten, Liedern und Instrumentalmusik verbracht. Beim Umzug verschwanden dann allerdings sämtliche Schachteln mit den Noten. Erhalten ist nur der Mitschnitt eines Radiointerviews des 13jährigen Komponisten. Ausgehend von diesem Band versucht Ergo Phizmiz nun die Rätsel seiner Jugend und der Operngeschichte zu verstehen.

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