Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Some notes on this work
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most mysterious stories from seafaring history dates from 1900, when a supply ship arrived at the lighthouse on the Flannan Isles to find its lamp dark and the station abandoned. The post, located on a remote shore in the Western Hebrides, had been manned by three keepers; no sign of their whereabouts remained, though their last meal reportedly sat half eaten on the table and the work log's last entry from a few days before left no clues as to the cause of the disappearance. This mystery was eventually chronicled in detail in a book by Craig Mair, which in turn inspired composer Peter Maxwell Davies to elaborate the story into one of his most musically and dramatically engaging operas.
The work was commissioned for the Edinburgh International Festival, where it was premiered in 1980. The libretto, which Davies himself devised, utilizes the historical facts of the incident as a general framework but takes considerable license with the details and draws clever and fantastical speculations about the nature of the keepers' disappearance, effectively turning the work into a deeply psychological (and psychologically disturbed) drama of the kind for which Davies is so famous. An extended prologue lays out the general story in the form of a Court of Inquiry, at which the crew of the supply ship reports their findings. In doing so, they continually lapse into vivid reenactment, crisscrossing chronotopes in a way that allows for Davies' characteristic manipulations of stylistic juxtapositions. The prologue sets the scene for the work's single act, which introduces us to the trio of lighthouse keepers. In Davies' innovative rendering, their interpersonal tensions become aggravated by an apparent case of cabin fever, and they become haunted by ghosts from their dark ..."
Lost in the mist...
moe_d_anglais | 11/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A remote lighthouse on the ruggedest islet on the remote Scottish coast. The dead of night. A terrible storm has been howling for weeks. The three keepers are running out of supplies. The supply ship is overdue. Their term of duty has been unavoidably prolonged. There is no way they can get off. Discipline is breaking down The lighthouse is becoming their prison...and worse.This is the background to Maxwell Davies chamber opera The Lighthouse. Scored for 3 singers and a dozen instruments, and lasting 75 minutes, it is more intense and compressed - in fact, more dramatic - than most larger works.Based on a true story- the unexplained disappearance of 3 keepers from Flannan Island in 1900 - this work conjures up a vision of what might have happened. Even, the ending is left deliberately uncertain - much more effective that way.In classic fashion, the breakdown and the personal conflicts among the 3 characters lead us naturally into the strange on terrifying events. Blazes is a former street-gang member, crude and cruel, but superstitious. Sandy is gentle and delicate, but he is also trying to forget some irregularity in his past. Arthur is a fundamentalist religious fanatic "who uses the Book to justify the beast in him". When they are "stormbound for weeks", their guilty consciences start preying on them. Then Arthur imagines he sees the "beast" - the apocalypse - approaching across "the dark seas of vanity and wanton Godlessness". So they dash out to destroy the beast - with strange and terrible results.I first saw this performed in Victoria in 1986; Ben Heppner, just starting out, was in the role of Sandy. This recording comes close to that in quality. The music takes its point of departure from Britten's more advanced works, but Maxwell Davies adds new innovations to make this one sound really creepy. It helps that the composer lives on one of the remotest of the Orkney Islands.The Lighthouse is an overwhelming experience, and it really should be better known. Anyone who likes Der Freischuetz will like this work, as they bring out the raw power of nature at its most violent. (It helps that I live on a remote rock with several lighthouses, but no opera houses). And the many devotees of horror movies shold explore this work, even if they hate classical music. It is a pity that it now has to be purchased second-hand, but popular demand should change that once more people discover it."