Text: P.K. Page
Duration: c. 4’
Instrumentation: contralto voice, 6 celli, 4 basses, percussion (bass drum, tam-tam, cymbal)
First Performance: Centennial Hall Winnipeg; Holly Cole, voice, members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, conductor Bramwell Tovey
The Apple (1998)
Like Planet Earth, The Apple was written for the Canadian jazz singer Holly Cole to perform at the 1999 Winnipeg New Music Festival, thrown in as a bonus to the commission from the CBC, and also sets a poem by P.K. Page. Holly’s voice is very low, and the highest note that she suggested I write for her, B in the middle of the treble clef, is a note which can be sung by a reasonable tenor voice. As a consequence I decided to emphasise this low and husky quality, which works beautifully when sung using a microphone, with a parallel and very dark orchestration. I wrote for 6 solo cellos, 4 solo basses, and untuned percussion (bass drum, tam-tam, suspended cymbal). The piece is very short, lasting only 4 minutes or so.
I have since made a version for my own ensemble to play. This gives an instrumentation of 2 violas, cello, bass, bass clarinet, electric guitar, percussion, plus low female voice.