Plain Song - 1981
- Title: Plain Song
- Choreographer:Siobhan Davies
- Choreographer Comments:created for Siobhan Davies and Dancers.
- Dancer:Paul Clayden,Siobhan Davies,Juliet Fisher,Jeremy Nelson,Maedee Dupres,Jonathan Lunn,Mary Evelyn
- Music:Erik Satie
- Music Comments:‘... [Satie's works] invoke an idealised medieval music through the use of plainsong-like melody - rhythmically very simple, but with unusually dissonant and colourful harmonies - complete elimination of counterpoint and extraordinary emotional restraint’ (Michael Finnissy, programme note, 1991).
- Sound Score:Two Preludes: Fete donnee par des Chevaliers Normands en l'Honneur d'une jeune Demoiselle (1893) and Prelude d'Eginhard (1893); Ogives (1886); Messe des pauvres (1895).
- Musicians:Michael Finnissy (piano)
- Designer:David Buckland
- Lighting Design:Peter Mumford
- Costume Maker:Anne Guyon (construction), Ondine de Senneville (dyeing)
- Summary:Davies wove together seven long and detailed phrases, repeated and modified in timing and spacing, so that as the dance progresses the phrases are knitted together in twos, threes and finally the whole group. Eric Satie's music, performed live at the piano, comes from his earliest compositions (1885-1900) and includes the rarely heard Messes des Pauvres. Plain Song is one of Davies' works that has been restaged; first performed by Siobhan Davies and Dancers in 1981, it was performed by Second Stride the following year and then revived by Rambert Dance Company in 1991. In 1983 Plain Song was filmed for Channel 4, directed by Geoff Dunlop. Three other works were filmed: Carnival (represented in this archive) Degas and [...], choreographed by Ian Spink.
- Analysis:''Plainsong'' is set to four pieces by Erik Satie, whose suggestion of medieval plainsong gives the dance its title and character. Out of simple prose rhythms and steady melody, Miss Davies has made a piece in which seven dancers form and re-form in shifting patterns, individuals emerging singly or in small groups to wheel, squat softly and stretch, always lyrically. Reflective and contained, their dances might be the phrases of a psalm or prayer.
While Miss Davies's central solo emerges as understated, it works gently against the whole by introducing the element of tension and attack seen in David Buckland's backdrop, which suggests action sketches of impellent torsos. And what a compelling dancer Miss Davies is. Contained and almost dreaming, she moves in a generous, open and straightforward way that is very satisfying. Her cast also included Paul Clayden, Ann Dickie, Miss Dupres, Juliet Fisher, Mr. Giraudeau and Jeremy Nelson.
New York Times, 1982, Jennifer Dunning
- Production Date Original:1981
- Tour:Great Britain
United States of America