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Stephen Oliver

Publisher: Novello & Co

Commuting (1986)
Commissioned by the vocal quartet Cantabile
Text Writer
Stephen Oliver
Novello & Co Ltd
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Operetta / Musical Theatre
Year Composed
18 Minutes
Countertenor, 2 tenors, baritone and one other

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Programme Note
Stephen Oliver Commuting (1986)

Stephen Oliver and Cantabile became friends during the rehearsals and long run of Stephen's West End musical Blondel in which we played the off-the-wall monks who act as narrators throughout the piece. In fact, much of the vocal arrangement of the monks' material was entrusted to us as our working friendship grew.

After Blondel drew to a close Cantabile were back in the studio singing more music specially written for us by Stephen, the incidental music to the Radio 4 series The Wordsmiths of Gorsemere, which featured Simon Callow. Unaware that Simon Callow had also commissioned Stephen to write a piece of music for him, we decided to ask him to write a piece to function as a transitional bridge between the more serious and the lighter parts of our repertoire. Thus Commuting was born. We were concerned that the piece should not be reliant upon the English language as we tour frequently to Europe and around the world. Stephen surpassed himself. Commuting is the story of a meeting between a thief and a fence on a crowded corridor train. It lasts about twenty minute and features no fewer than twelve characters, all played by the four members of the ensemble, plus a further 'surprise' guest.

The Transport Museum provided us with the ideal venue for the world premiere of this unusual and highly amusing piece.
© Michael Steffan

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