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Barry Guy

Publisher: Novello & Co

Pfiff (1979)
Novello & Co Ltd
Small Ensemble (2-6 players)
Year Composed
22 Minutes
Programme Note
Barry Guy Pfiff (1979)
The formal scheme for Pfiff was largely arrived at through Samuel Beckett's mime Act without Words. Within this drama lay an interesting interplay of tensions built up through types of activity and gestures which seemed to me to indicate a possible music analogy.

Act without Words appears to be loosely based on a classical underworld myth of Tantalus, who was condemned to stand in a stream which receded whenever he bent down to drink, while fruit-laden branches overhead rapidly removed themselves from his reach. In the mime there appear to be malevolent persons offstage that taunt him by whistling - attracting his attention only to throw him back onstage into the misery that has befallen him. Whilst Tantalus' problems are unsolveable the musicians problems are, but not without creating the hypertension inherent in Beckett's mime. Pfiff is an essay in tension and relief.

© Barry Guy

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