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From the short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: a feminist tale of repressed creativity, female subservience and dissociative psychosis, adapted by Francis Booth and set for string quintet (or string orchestra) and mezzo-soprano by Ronald Corp.
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The short story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was published in 1892. Although often regarded as an early feminist classic and a Freudian analysis of a woman’s breakdown, it is also simply a very effective ghost story.
Francis Booth, with whom I collaborated on my setting of verses from Dhammapada (Stone Records) as well as Songs of the Elder Sisters and Lullaby for a Lost Soul, provided a scena based on texts from the novella, and I envisaged the work as an extended cantata for mezzo-soprano and string quartet (with double bass) or string orchestra. The piece was composed in a series of late night sessions when I found myself completely ‘spooked’ by the text I was setting.
The music, with its fragments of repeated melodic material and gestures and with its sense of changing moods and textures, tries to represent the state of mind of the young woman as she reacts to the wallpaper in her room of ‘captivity’.
The work is dedicated to Naomi Lobbenberg.
© Ronald Corp, 2012
(You are welcome to copy and paste the programme notes – please credit the author.)