ELIZABETH MACONCHY (1907-1994): The Sofa, The Departure.
Catalogue Number: 03K070
Description: The Sofa is a comic opera to a libretto by Ursula Vaughan Williams (1911-2007), full of witty, sly humor. The absurd plot hinges on the magical transformation of a hedonistic young rake into an item of furniture, and is basically a comedy of manners about young people behaving badly. The score is pitch-perfectly matched to the subject; parody abounds, the composer reveling in the opportunity to depict the attempted seductions and frivolous behavior of the characters in music that is never remotely difficult an unexpectedly 'light' side of Maconchy's character. The more serious subject-matter of The Departure - a young woman has died, but witnesses her own funeral, not yet realizing the truth of her situation - evokes music of greater substance, but equally approachable, somewhat resembling Vaughan Williams though with an economical harmonic pungency that is very much Maconchy's own. Introspective and elegiac, the piece is both musically and dramatically effective. Librettos included. Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells; Dominic Wheeler.