Publisher: Novello & Co
Three Motion Settings (2005)
1. In the Attic
2. To Whom it May Concern
3. What Language to Speak
Novello & Co Ltd
Solo Voice(s) and up to 6 players
This cycle sets three poems written by Andrew Motion at three distinct stages of his career. Motion (b. 1952), currently Poet Laureate, cites 'In the Attic' as "the first one I'd ever done which felt anywhere near right". The subject matter of the text, composed when he was 20 years old, is a theme that Motion has returned to throughout his creative output: the ten years his mother spent in a coma and her subsequent death. 'To Whom it May Concern' represents a sardonic outlook on the state of contemporary poetry, while 'What Language to Speak' sets two meditative sentences from the extended poem, 'Lines of Desire'.
The settings are simple, largely modal and influenced by the sonorities achieved in Samuel Barber's works for piano. There is an air of slow recitative in the outer numbers, which aims to create the sense of melancholic recollection prevalent in the text.