But, I fly
In But, I Fly, Dai was looking to find an equal
synthesis between musical gesture and the sounds of
the words. This meant that he and Harry had to somehow
cocoon the emerging work in a working process that
is not simple to describe so that the words and the
music could metamorphose together.

For Dai, this way of threading elements together was
infinitely more satisfactory than writing music for a
pre-exisiting text. When he and Harry were at college
together, Harry had asked him to write a piece based
on a Carol Anne Duffy poem for his final recital. “I
enjoyed singing it, the audience enjoyed listening to
it, but you will not find it in Dai’s catalogue!” The
reasons underlying this seeming hypersensitivity
(especially for Dai, whose feet are firmly planted on
the ground) to the working process are not just that
the meter and stress of English poetry offer a
composer fewer choices than, say, Japanese, which
lends equal stress to each syllable.

There is a literal side to the Japanese tradition of
musical composition, unformalized among Western
practitioners, in which the composed sound-world is
permeable to the larger world of sounds-and-sights in
which we all exist. A gagaku performance (an ancient
Japanese courtly form of song and dance) I attended
years ago, at Nogi shrine in Tokyo, instantly replays
in the movie theatre of my mind as luminous moths
circling between the audience and performers in the
outdoor darkness. The tiny sounds of their wings was
echoed in the rustling trees and both were amplified
by the richly wooded tones of the instruments, just as
the shape of their flight was mirrored in the
musicians’ exaggerated gestures and the fluttering of
the dancers’ costumes. Beautiful and eerie, the moths
integrate intended and allowed-for elements of the
performance in a intentional paradox happenchance

When Vox Humana, a Tokyo vocal ensemble, commissioned
this piece from Dai, then, it did not occur to him to
compose his music to a Japanese poem, in the way that
a Western composer might well have done with the
cultural resources at their disposal.

But, I fly instead emerged from cocooning prior
musical decisions together with poetic inspiration. It
is always difficult for onlookers to envisage such
transformations, even with the information that modern
metamorphoses have internet access and mobile phone
reception and do not require fixed geographic
co-ordinates (with Dai’s wings spanning the distance
between Frankfurt and London, and Harry’s traversing
Spoleto and Edinburgh).

There is one more element of the chrysalis. The tone
of the piece, and of the poem, is patterned through
and through with conversations over the phone with
Dai, many of which took place while Harry and his two
children took turns on the swings of a drizzly
Scottish playground. Rosa, the older of the children,
now aged three, also took turns with Harry on the
phone to Dai, her Godfather. It was the children's
experience on the swings - and their disjointed
impressions of the experience - that most inspired
this short choral piece. Funny how children seem to
affect twentieth century vocal music … a German
composer comes immediately to mind!

Our discussions were a chrysalis, children playing on
the swings were the catalyst that turned them into
But, I fly.

-Deborah Dukes is a writer, and the above children’s
other parent-


18歳から22歳の頃は ロンドンの音楽大学の練習室で作曲をしていたので (家が間借りでピアノも無かった)声楽生徒を毛嫌いしていたこともあるかもしれません。まず声楽家の入っていた練習室はあまりにも香水のにおいと化粧の粉などがいっぱいにあふれていて、作曲どころではないです。あと隣の部屋に声楽家がいて 「ミーニーマーニーモー」ってヴィブラートを効かして練習を始められると、「静寂の中から聞こえてくる内なる自分の響きを音にする」とかいうタイプでない作曲家の僕でも作曲どころじゃなくなります。(音程が狂っていたりしたらもう大変。)とにかくはた迷惑だったのです。
なぜこんな人たち(声楽家)が12人も集まっている団体相手に曲を書こうしたかというと、単に送られてきたヴォックス マーナの録音が素晴らしかったからです。(この僕のトラウマを吹き飛ばすほど面白い作品をきっちり演奏している録音だったのです。)
あと詩ですが、言葉によって作曲が支配されてはいけないと思い、しかも今回に関しては僕の方で音楽的イメージがはっきりとあったので、詩は作曲と同時進行に行われました。詩を書いたHarry Ross とは大親友で昔僕の小オペラ (どっちかっていうと アンチ オペラ)の詩と監督をしていまして、今はイタリアのスポレット音楽祭の助監督をしています。
毎日作曲してはその分を Harry にメールで送り、次の日にあちらから言葉が返ってきて…という感じで行われました。僕の方からの注文は、「ここは母音2つ、で言葉はアクセントがあるので SP か P から始まる言葉。」などなど。その上詩として全文意味が通じるように(詩として良いものを)と作ったので楽しいけど大変だったと言っていました。

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