Composer Tom Armstrong, text Robert Macfarlane
Berceuse 1917 uses isolated words taken from the penultimate chapter of Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways, a fictionalised recreation of the final months of the poet Edward Thomas’ life as a WW1 artillery officer. Macfarlane includes a refrain listing music playing on the gramophone in Thomas’ various billets - Chopin’s Berceuse is one of the pieces mentioned. Both voice and piano are derived from the Chopin, the latter given tiny slivers of music from each bar. The parts are arrayed in 10x10 grids that the performers can read through in any direction, coordinating loosely with each other.