A note from the composer, Jason Carr (2014)
I composed The Lyric Quarry as part of my final folio of compositions when graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD) in London in 1988. Even then I knew I was headed towards a career in the theatre, and the idea of writing ‘absolute’ music was pretty scary. Therefore, I decided to write the largest of the required instrumental pieces as a ballet; the idea being that I could concentrate on solving a theatrical problem, and leave the musical language to instinct.
The inspiration was Tennessee Williams’ short story Two On A Party, in which a young homosexual man and an older, alcoholic woman find they have greater success in pulling men when operating together. This seemed ripe with dramatic and musical possibilities to me, a kind of queer successor to Fancy Free, if you will. The first performance was given by the Capital Wind Quintet with myself at the piano (and my current publisher, Lisa Portus, on bassoon). I went on to compose my first incidental music for Shakespeare for the quintet, for GSMD productions.
The piece has lain dormant since, and it is with some trepidation I offer it up now. I’ve not changed anything, as 26 years have made me a different person and, if the piece has any merit, then it’s probably a certain youthful vitality. Since I left music college, the boundaries between popular and classical music have blurred a lot, and musical theatre is no longer the no-go area it was [or felt like] for a conservatoire student composer. Hurrah!
About the composer: After winning the Vivian Ellis Prize for Young Writers of Musicals in 1988, Jason was invited by Peter Hall to compose the musical Born Again starring Mandy Patinkin and José Ferrer at Chichester Festival Theatre, which subsequently also produced The Water Babies and Six Pictures of Lee Miller (British Composer Awards nomination). His musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol has played Chichester, Birmingham Rep and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Incidental music for over 50 plays includes 17 productions directed by the late Steven Pimlott. Orchestrations include the Menier Chocolate Factory’s Sunday in the Park with George, La Cage aux Folles and A Little Night Music (all also Broadway, winning ‘Best Orchestrations’ Drama Desk Award and two Tony nominations). Jason accompanies many singers including Maria Friedman and Felicity Lott. The CD Listen Up! features 20 of Jason’s songs. www.jasoncarr.org.uk