Birth of a song; the Rosetta Life's artists diary
Birth of a SongMeeting the Composer - Again
I nearly worked with Orlando 20 years ago when he asked me - as a librettist - to look at a Peter Carey novel that he was thinking of setting as an opera. Nothing came of this. We bumped into each occasionally over the next two decades, vaguely aware of what the other was up to but not really connecting. Now along comes Rosetta Requiem and it occurs to me that he might be just the person to write a song.
We meet for lunch and Orlando is interested in our project, but he's busy. There's an Oratorio he's writing for Opera Wales, the music for an upcoming Almeida Blood Wedding, a grand choral project on river barges in Stuttgart... all due yesterday. When I was making a TV series with neurologist Oliver Sacks he told me that he had a card above his desk with the simple word NO on it as a way of reminding himself not to over-commit himself. Orlando clearly has no such card because he commits to the Rosetta Requiem there and then. I leave him with my jottings from the conversation the Wednesday Group had about carers last week.
March 2005. I show the Wednesday group the film I made of Billy Bragg singing the amazing song We Laughed, that he wrote with Maxine Edgington at Trimar Hospice in Weymouth. The group love the song and I have a hunch that we might develop a response to it here at the hospice. At first the talk turns on crying and I wonder if we should write the counter song to We Laughed - We Cried - but they don't want this and the mood swings to laughter.
Orlando visits the Wednesday Group and immediately gains their trust by describing what he does. I've given a bit of shape to the notes I took about laughter in the Wednesday Group last week. It's called Laugh Again and I'm wondering if Orlando would like to set it but he's already had a go at the Carer song so Laugh Again will have to wait.