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Let us stop this mad rush towards the end (2019, 17 minutes)


Let us stop this mad rush towards the end was a commission for the London Festival of Contemporary Music at the Ambika Space London, directed and conceived by Burrows&Fargion, with music composed by Matteo Fargion, dance by Claire Godsmark, singin and piano by Francesca Fargion and conducted by Jack Sheen with the London Contemporary Music Festival orchestra. 


The performance took place in a large industrial space, previously used a testing facility for the creation of concrete. At one end of the space was a piano where Francesca Fargion sang and played a looping repetition of the title words 'Let us stop this mad rush towards the end'. The dancer Claire Godsmark meanwhile danced up and down a line between the piano and the orchestra, who were situated 20m away at the other end of the hall, with the audience sitting on either side of the danced line.

The dance was a structured improvisation choreographed by Godsmark, using a looping form suggested by Burrows. You will see from the structural dance score shared here, that the dance moved forwards from material A to material I, but with a device to make it flip back constantly to a previous material. Each material lasted the length of one crossing of the space, and the slow progression and looping back of the materials was punctuated by either walking, running or lying. The idea was to create a sense that the dancer was tumbling forwards, but at the same time pausing occasionally to recall past materials. The second dance score shows the names of each of Godsmark's materials, A to I, showing how a poetic use of language in the score underpinned the fierce expressiveness of her performance.

The music consisted of a short song with piano accompaniment repeated 33 times, including a variation which occured 5 times. Each member of the orchestra was provided with the score of the song plus an additional form scheme, which denoted which instrumental section joined in at specific repetitions. They were free to simply play the melody, embellish it, or pick out notes from the piano accompaniment, always supporting the song and never going against it. The conductor's only job was to cue each group of instruments in and out according to the predetermined structure. The result was a gradual build up of volume and colour until two thirds in, when the instruments dropped out and everybody sang, only to build again in a huge crescendo until the end.


The performance played with the tension between constructed loops and improvised materials, so that there was both a sense of urgency and a feeling of expansiveness.


© Burrows&Fargion 2023

Claire Godsmark word score for Let Us Stop This Mad Rush Towards The End, 2019.jpg
Claire Godsmark structure score for Let Us Stop This Mad Rush Towards The End,
Claire Godsmark drawn score for Let Us Stop This Mad Rush Towards The End, 2019.jpeg
let us stop (SEAD).jpg
let us stop orchestral scheme 3 copy_page-0001.jpg
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