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This monodrama for mezzo-soprano and chamber sextet, commissioned by Northern Arts UK, tells of the 14th century North of England warrior Henry Percy (Hotspur), seen through the eyes of Elizabeth Mortimer, in a striking ballad sequence written by Fleur Adcock.
Whitehead's imaginative score combines exotic and arresting instrumental colours, a strong dramatic vocal line (often with flamboyant flourishes) and an admirable overall conception of the mood changes and tonal graduation of the work. (William Dart, NZ Listener)
She has the rare gift of knowing when to use nightmarish vehemences and when to be utterly straightforward and calm. (Roger Covell, Sydney Morning Herald).
Commissioned by Musicon, assisted by Northern Arts
Text by Fleur Adcock
19 Aug 2007: Gillian Whitehead Portrait
Performed by Anthea Moller (sop.), Tor Fromyhr (vln/vla), David Pereira (vlc), Nicole Canham (cl.), Gavin Clark (cl./bs cl.), Darryl Pratt (perc.) and Gillian Whitehead (extra perc.) on Anthology of Australian music - Dramatic vocal music; CD