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Schirmer News Issue: July / August 2002

Thea Musgrave
World Premiere 
Solo Baritone; 1(pic).200/0000/perc/str
Duration: 30'
Nicholas Deutsch, stage director
Randall Scarlatta, baritone
Boston Musica Viva/Pittman
Boston, MA
3 May 2002                       

The monodrama is a small but choice
subdivision in the world of music. Now the
21st century has produced its first
contender, Thea Musgrave’s extraordinary
anti-war parable THE MOCKING-BIRD. [It is] a
dramatic display of Musgrave’s talents.

Musgrave’s decades of experience of writing
every kind of music show in the precision of
her craftsmanship—the adroit and evocative
use of the six-instrument ensemble; the clear
and meaningful text-setting (the libretto is
her own); the skillful writing for voice; and
above all, the flexibility of the music,
which moves from military tattoos through
recitative, a mimicry of military voices that
anticipates the appearance of the
mocking-bird, to superb lyrical music of an
idyllic past that tugged at the heart and
already lingers in the memory. At the end the
mocking-bird’s song embodies a ferocious
irony that merges with an all-enveloping
compassion; there is moral truth within this
manipulative plot.  

RICHARD DYER, Boston Globe

Thea Musgrave

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