Kate Westbrook - voice Matthew Sharp - voice Chris Biscoe - alto clarinet, alto saxophone Peter Whyman - clarinet, bass clarinet, alto a soprano saxophones Stuart Brooks - trumpet, flugelhorn Jane Hanna - french horn Karen Street - tenor saxophone, accordion Dave Bitelli - baritone saxophone, clarinet Mark Wilson - violin Neil McTaggart - violin David Lasserson - viola Chris Allan - cello Tim Harries - bass Sebastian Rochford - drums Mike Westbrook - piano, MD
Chanson Irresponsable takes as its starting point the anarchic and eclectic nature of the song of the sedge warbler. First an instumental opening establishes the bird's musical habitat. In spring the Sedge Warblers arrive, represeted by the two vocalists, Kate Westbrook and Matthew Sharp, and the two clarinetists, Chris Biscoe and Peter Whyman.
There are basically two original texts by Kate Westbrook, one about the birds strutting territorial display, and the other about nest building and procreation. These words are heard in English, Italian, French and German, each time in a different musical setting.
Towards the close of the piece, one sedge warbler, singing philisophically until the end, is killed by a cat. A funeral hymn is followed by a New Orleans-style parade. At the end of summer the remaining birds sing one last song and are gone.
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This musically innovative and exciting new piece finds Mike & Kate working at their creative peaks and defiantly unafraid to risk everything in their pursuit of new musical forms. Working with a stunning mix of jazz and classical musicians of all ages, the Westbrooks have created a major work for contemporary music that is as startlingly original and uncategorisable as anything in their combined creative history. Chris Albury, Mind Your Own Music