John Keats’ Hyperion is an unfinished epic poem that ranges in scale from the deeply intimate and instantaneous to the cosmic and universal. It breaks off where those extremes of scale and time collide, as if language itself has collapsed carrying the enormity of the moment.
The Midnight Lamp rearranges various lines from the poem, out of their original context, following both the imagery of the text, and the idea of the means of expression being stressed by the weight behind it. The text is set to fairly straightforward musical phrases, but the language is broken down to its component vowels and consonants to form a shifting backdrop – at first atmospheric, and later more rhythmic as the imagery builds towards the vastness of endless “creations and destroyings”. Body percussion is used throughout.
Vocal Score: The Midnight Lamp