2000 listen

"An overture for an imaginary opera" is how Richard Ayres describes this hyper-energetic piece. When asked what the opera is exactly about, he answers' "I didn't have an actual story in mind...whatever is happening it is certainly melodramatic." Ayres tosses chunks of bellicose melodies around like unguided projectiles. It sparks with enthusiasm and evokes images of Don Quixote, who joins battle against the windmills. The disastrousness of the entire undertaking may explain the sobbing and sighing in the middle of the piece: it is the timpanist, who has a megaphone to his lips.

© Saskia Tornqvist 

Richard Ayres CA/NL/UK

Richard Ayres was born in Cornwall (Great Britain) in 1965. In 1986 he followed Morton Feldman's classes at the Darmstadt and Dartington summer schools, and after this experience decided to make music a full-time occupation.  He studied composition, electronic music, and trombone at the polytechnic in Huddersfield. He settled in the Netherlands in 1989 where he followed the postgraduate composition course at the Royal Conservatoire in Den Haag, studying with Louis Andriessen, and graduating in 1992. He took up a teaching position there from 2004-6 before moving to the Amsterdam Conservatory.  Since 1990 Richard Ayres has worked as a composer, receiving commissions from leading European contemporary music ensembles and orchestras, as well as writing for more unusual instrumental combinations formed for specific projects.  Most recently he wrote No. 42 In the Alps for Barbara Hannigan and the Netherlands Blazers Ensemble.  He is currently working on a new opera.

For more information about Richard Ayres, click here.

Richard Ayres