Live performance of 'Happy Richard' performed by:
Narrator: Dermot O'Connor
Pianist: Imogene Newland
Vocalists: Daniele Clementi, Ross Cumming, Liam Dyker, Mhairi Sharp, Lydia Speth, Jennifer Taylor, Eilidh Thomson and David Walsh.
from the Composer:
This piece was built in the form of an alternative reality. This means that the stories which inspired the piece have been structured in a way that offers a happy ending, rather than the sad reality of what has already happened.
The title Happy Richard was a starting point for a piece that celebrates the diversity of love and the instant assumptions we make about relationships. This piece also joins the material that is celebrating 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain.
Inspired by an Australian same-sex marriage campaign, the piece follows the story of a man who is living his life, comes across someone whom he might share that life with, and the ups and downs that they face during their time together. From the beginning to end, it may be presumed that his partner is a woman with the end revealing that Richard is not, in fact, the speaker, but his husband whom he has spent a loving life with.
Each Movement is dedicated to someone who inspired that part of Richard’s story:
Movement One is dedicated to my partner Butch: it is based on our first encounter and forms the starting point of the wider love story;
Movement Two is dedicated to Jamie Gasking: the story of a long-lost friend whose exemption from my life has, no doubt, altered it a long way from what it would have been;
Movement Three is dedicated to my Grandparents: wonderfully simple people who had little in life except each other, epitomising old and enduring love, even beyond death.
The concept of Happy Richard, derived from stories of young love and old friends, was brought to life by the writing of Connor Leggat. Having approached him with the concept, he immediately created something that fit the idea of the soundworld.
He plays with time, allowing the far future and deep past to infiltrate one another in the present moment; he has helped to frame incredible yet simple moments in the character’s life through description and emotion; and he has augmented the musical reality through careful consideration of the aural material.
From the Author
Happy Richard is a love story – pure and simple. There is joy and loss, ups and downs, deep drama and commonplace themes such as couples cooking. It was hard not to be infected by Bryce’s enthusiasm for the project and I hope I have done the work, and the tale, justice.
Happy Richard was an opportunity for me to flex my writing muscles in a genre I have never written in before and to work with Bryce on a new musical venture, which I was more than happy to undertake.