The Tyranny of Fun

Richard Baker (1972)

The Tyranny of Fun 2012

1121/1110/keyboard/10111
Duration 
20
Commissioner 
Publisher 

We met first, poet and I, in a little group of people in Jerusalem reading Greek tragedy, and then later at a demonstration in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood protesting against the expulsion of Palestinian residents from their houses by Israeli settlers. Levin’s son had just been arrested. I mention both meetings because they tell us about the atmosphere among at least a minority of people in Israel and I believe, something about the poems, ‘To These Dark Steps’ and the prose pieces, ‘The Fathers are Watching’ which accompany them. Levin later explained that at the time of the bombing of Gaza (in 2008), he had found himself able to listen only to twentieth century pieces by Webern, Bartok, Ligeti, Messiaen and Morton Feldman. The poems he brought have as their subject the listening to these composers’ works at such a time. They are not ‘political’ poems, he told me. It seems to me that they are poems written in a landscape, albeit one inseparable from quotidian political events.

Alexander Goehr

Performances 
15.2.13 CBSO Centre, Birmingham: BCMG / Ryan Wigglesworth
1
Flute
1
Oboe
2
Clarinet
1st clarinet, 2nd bass clarinet
1
Bassoon
1
Horn
1
Trumpet
1
Trombone
1
Violin
1
Viola
1
Cello
1
Double bass
1
Piano
keyboard
(Esc)