Translucence (Donna McKevitt)
Derek Jarman – Poetry Donna McKevitt – Music
Countertenor: Michael Chance, Contralto: Donna McKevitt, Mezzo Soprano: Melanie Pappenheim, Viola: Catherine Manson,
Soprano: Kelly McCusker, Cello: Caroline Dale
Translucence is a cycle of twelve poetry settings punctuated by five instrumental interludes, and is scored for the highly unusual combination of three female voices (Soprano, mezzo and contralto), counter tenor, viola and cello. With a maturity far beyond her years at the time of composition (she was still in her early twenties) Donna McKevitt’s music mirrors Jarman’s poignant journey through the memories and emotions of Jarman’s last years.
“McKevitt’s intimate and sensitive settings deftly capture the essence of Jarman’s words and images. The spare textures are beautifully realised and McKevitt skilfully blends varied influences into a coherent whole. A moving evocation of love and loss”
Barry Witherden Classic CD *****
A record contract was quickly found (highly unusual for any composer’s Opus 1), review copies were sent out, extraordinary critical endorsements flowed in and everything seemed set for the album’s triumphant public release in late 1998. There was a sting in the tail however and as a result of problems with Jarman’s estate the record had to be withdrawn before release and all remaining copies destroyed. Despite building a cult reputation in music circles from the review copies that escaped destruction, the record remained unobtainable until its welcome release on Dharma Records in 2004, with a memorable concert to launch the album at Tate Britain.