a melodrama for ‘cello and gamelan instruments

First performed at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge in March 2006 by Anton Lukoszevieze and members of the Cambridge Gamelan Society.

Histrionica is a melodrama for ‘cello and gamelan instruments. The melodrama is abstract, but is perhaps best described as being like an extreme counselling session between a histrionic client and a very calm counsellor. The ‘cello is the client. As might be expected, there is a coming together at the end. I actually wanted to avoid this – I wanted to keep the client and counsellor apart, but I’m afraid the romance of the situation overcame me and we finish with a very nice and gentle chorale.

E.M.Forster expressed it elegantly at the end of A Passage to India:

‘Why can’t we be friends now?’ said the other, holding him affectionately. ‘It’s what I want. It’s what you want.’

But the horses didn’t want it – they swerved apart; the earth didn’t want it, sending up rocks through which riders must pass single-file; the temples, the tank, the jail, the palace, the birds, the carrion, the Guest House, that came into view as they issued from the gap and saw the Mau beneath: they didn’t want it, they said in their hundred voices, ‘No, not yet,’ and the sky said, ‘No, not there.’