Reuben Pace

Story Telling ,Theatrical Influences and the use of Text in my Music - Part 4 Multi-disciplinary works

In my larger scale works dramatization and storytelling is achieved through combinations of the techniques mentioned in the previous three sections as well as using art forms other than music and text such as video, dance and drama.
A. When it comes to multi-disciplinarity my largest work to date is the multi-media opera Il-Kantilena, Karba ta’ Ħames Mitt Sena, Karba ta’ Żmiena. (2013-2014). This is the first ever Maltese multi-media opera and is based on the oldest known existing poem in Maltese. It was commissioned by the government of Malta for the celebrations of the fortieth anniversary of Malta as a Republic. It was premiered to a full house at Teatru Manoel on the 6th of December 2016.
Il-Kantilena employs several technqiues regarding text.


of the text through a narrator. The text in question is the original poem ‘Il-Kantilena’ by Pietru Caxaro (c.a.1475). The poem is recited twice for each section (it is divided in 4 sections for the purpose of this work). The second recitation is an artistic translation into modern Maltese (the medieval Maltese the original poem is written in sounds very different than modern Maltese)

    Electronic manipulations

– both the original poem (in medieval Maltese) and the poem translated into modern Maltese are also heavily manipulated electronically to create a soundscape and several sound objects which are used in several movements of the work (there are 22 movements in all). While the poem is being recited in modern Maltese it is accompanied by phrases from it’s medieval version manipulated electronically.
iii) There are also

    traditional settings

of the text which use extended vocal techniques such as shouting and speaking as in the sixth movement ‘Trid Minne Tamara’
iv) Through the choreography the 3 medieval dances included in the opera are also given a theatrical meaning.

B. The Everlink (2015) is another large scale work which utilises a chamber orchestra, a video and a narration to recount a story of a ten year old boy. The music uses several leitmotifs and hence by itself tells a story. This is accompanied by a narration (which however is not manipulated electronically) and a moving picture (but no choreography). Although the music employs singers these only sing vowels and hence are used as instruments and do not use the text. This work was commissioned by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and was performed five times at the largest cinema complex on the islands, Eden Century cinemas.

Next week we shall have a very interesting blog from one of the Young participants of City of Humanity.