The New Westbrook Orchestra

Chanson Irresponsable
Chanson Irresponsable
Dave Bitelli saxophones/clarinet * Karen Street accordion/saxophone
Stuart Brooks trumpet * Jane Hanna French horn * Mark Wilson violin
Neil McTaggart violin * David Lasserson viola * Chris Allan cello
Tim Harries bass * Sebastian Rochford drums
Mike Westbrook piano & MD
William Strode sound

Commissioned by Jazz on 3/BBC Radio 3
Acroscephalus schoenobaenus (LINN.) SEDGE-WARBLER

The Sedge-Warbler advertises its presence with a varied and erratic song. Intentionally or unintentionally it copies other sounds. When stirred by nuptial fervour it sings on the wing. At night its richer notes may be mistaken for the Nightingale. Explosive, scolding and harsh notes are so intermingled with its song that the psychological meaning of its varied utterance is obscure.

(after T.A Coward)

"Cet oiseau, a, sans nul doute, le sens de l'humour"

(Wilhelm Busch)
Chanson Irresponsable takes as its starting point the anarchic and eclectic nature of the song of the sedge warbler. Kate Westbrook's texts, in English, are translated into French, German and Italian. While not anthropomorphic, the texts capture moments in the life of the migrant bird - territorial rivalry, courtship, death. Each language version has a different musical interpretation, sometimes formally set, sometimes free form.

The instrumentation of the Orchestra, which combines jazz and classical player, is chosen to give the maximum range of of tonal possibilities within a small ensemble.

Two vocalists and two clarinet/saxophonists are the principal protagonists at the heart of the Orchestra. This Quartet plays out the the music/drama of the piece against a variety of Orchestral 'events' - improvisations, textures and against structures which are often derived from popular song and jazz forms.
Mike Westbrook.
1. The Reed Bed, the Oak and the Stream
2. Stolzierender Protz
3. Fight
4. Unbekümmerte Liebe
5. Chattering Billy
6. Tu Crânes (Big Strut)
7. Amore Spensierato
8. Insouciant Amour
9. Gran Vanto
10. Careless
11. Es Sitzt Ein Vogel (A Bird)
12. Hymne Funèbre
13. Vanto d'Amore
14. Gone
Chanson Irresponsable CD information.
Information and Booking:
Music: Mike Westbrook
Texts: Kate Westbrook
Italian, French and German versions by
Sergio Amadori, Lucienne Droz, Tommy Bodmer

A BBC Radio 3 Commission

The New
Westbrook Orchestra
with soloists
Matthew Sharp, Kate Westbrook

Peter Whyman, Chris Biscoe
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

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Kate & Mike Westbrook
Kate and Mike Westbrook