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The Lighthouse

By Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

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Chamber Opera
Composed by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-). Classical. Study Score. Composed 1999. 148 pages. Chester Music #MUSCH55426. Published by Chester Music (BT.MUSCH55426).

Item Number: BT.MUSCH55426

Chamber opera in a prologue and one act. A ghost story telling of the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers in the Hebrides.
This is a mystery story in the form of a chamber opera. The prologue is set as acourt of enquiry into the unexplained disappearance of the three keepers from a lighthouse. Questions are posed by a solo horn, which may sound from among the audience, and three officers give answer. Gradually, they move fromstraight testimony into fantastical imaginings of evil during a 'flashback' to the lighthouse; but then we snap back to the courtroom.
In the main act the three singers become the vanished keepers. They have been together formonths, long enough to be fully aware of each other's weaknesses; petty bickerings suggest a relationship which is stable, but liable to become highly unstable at any moment. They sing songs to reduce the tension, Blazes beginningwith a rough ballad of street violence, accompanied by violin and banjo. Sandy's song, with cello and out-of-tune upright piano, is a thinly disguised description of sexual bliss, and Arthur's with brass and clarinet, is atub-thumping hymn. But the songs serve only to resurrect in their minds ghosts from the past, and as the fog descends each of the keepers becomes convinced that he is being claimed by the Beast. They prepare to meet its dazzlingeyes, which become the lights of the relief vessel, and the three men reappear as officers, met at the lighthouse only by an infestation of rats. They leave, and at the end the last hours of Blazes, Sandy and Arthur begin to playover again.
Study Score. Duration c. 1h 25mins.

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