David Sawer - Rumpelstiltskin
A grotesque fable for our time
Once upon a time there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter. Now it happened that he had to go and speak to the King, and in order to make himself appear important he said to him, “I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold”. The King said to the miller, “That is an art which will please me well. If your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her tomorrow to my palace, and I will put her to the test.”
Sawer’s score is entrancing. Exquisitely scored for 13 players…it is dark, lean and jagged, embracing both eerie menace and seductive charm.
The Daily Telegraph
Sawer…a gifted colourist, explored extremes of pitch, particularly conspicuous in the frowsy gurgles of muted tuba and bass clarinet, or the intentionally scratchy, ghostly string harmonics. Richard Jones cool, sharp direction and Stewart Laing’s versatile wooden box design gave necessary focus to this hybrid work. Six dancer – actors enacted the story with blackly comic gusto.
Disturbing and intricately theatrical.
From the ever-darkening timbre of the alchemy music to the expansive horn solo, the brittle, syncopated wedding music, mocking flute and stuttering speech rhythms, Sawer tightens his score with unerring focus and is handsomely served by BCMG’s virtuosic instrumentalists and conductor Martyn Brabbins.
[the] constantly changing sonic perspective only enriched the expressive power of the music…
Rumpelstiltskin was first performed by BCMG conducted by Martyn Brabbins at CBSO Centre, Birmingham on 14 November 2009.