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© Copyright 2019 Ichthus Music Press

MARTIAL BOURDIN

AN AMATEUR'S ULTIMATE ATTACK ON REALITY

PROJECT

DESCRIPTION

Composer Frank Pesci, using a non-linear narrative presented with a broad spatial conception, examines the story of a doomed political radical and the ripples of effect his actions had on those around him and those that were inspired by him.

At about 4:45pm on February 15, 1894 in Greenwich, London, an explosive device detonated while in possession of MARTIAL BOURDIN, a 26-year-old French national. The explosion, a result of faulty design or user error, mortally wounded the carrier. He was taken into protective custody and lived for another 30 minutes before succumbing to his injuries. During this time, he gave no indication as to his motives or intended destination of the device. He was, however, a regular at a local anarchist hangout in London, and was known to police. 

Of all the mysteries surrounding Bourdin, the most elusive was that he appeared to be making his way toward the Royal Observatory. The Observatory in Greenwich was (and remains) the location of the both Greenwich Mean Time, and the Prime Meridian. For an anarchist, this location could represent the tyrannical imposition of a rigid standard of time and space upon an unquestioning world; it's destruction would be necessary.    

While Bourdin's presumed goal was unsuccessful, the resulting ripples of his attempt had unforeseen consequences, not only among those to whom he was close, but also for those who drew inspiration from his intent. These connections include the root figures of philosophical anarchism, the bomber's family and comrades, as well as a young Theodore Kaczynski (aka, "Unabomber"), who was directly inspired by fictional representations of Bourdin's actions.  

PRODUCTION 

CONSIDERATIONS

This work will be designed to occur simultaneously in three to five overlapping, or sequential,  15- to 20- minute sections that repeat throughout the duration of the performance. Occurrences that represent disparate physical, and/or temporal, locations will be executed on separate physical, and/ or virtual, "stages" within a single performance venue. If different physical stages are being used, incidental music will provide time for an audience to travel between locations. These stages will be in earshot of the others, so as to appropriate the intimation of the musics of other times and spaces if they pertain to the action being witnessed.  The piece will be designed to be considerably flexible, incorporating any of the following options, based on the producing company's needs:

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  • flexible in length, scope, and orchestration depending on the venue.

  • flexible casting options, including: doubling; spoken, sung, and mute roles for children and adults; adaptation of roles for male, female, or youth voices; addition and subtraction of roles, based on available resources.

  • may be staged or un-staged.

  • may be presented in whole or in part as a video presentation.

  • may or may not include any number of roles, spoken, sung, and mute for children and adults.

  • may exist entirely as an interactive online experience.

THE COMPOSER

Frank Pesci (b. 1974) is a composer of “… sophisticated music with surprising harmonies.”

 

His compositions have been performed across North America and Europe. He has written nearly 100 works for the concert stage, including forty choral works, eleven song cycles, nearly twenty chamber and concert scores, and five operas, one of which – The System of Soothing – was selected for the 2017 Fort Worth Opera FRONTIERS showcase.  

 

Recent commission and collaborative partners include the Boston Conservatory, Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Kammersänger Edward Gauntt, London Review of Books, National Book Award winning poet Terrance Hayes, the Mars Hill College Saxophone Quartet, the What is Noise ensemble, Trinity Church in the City of Boston, and Saturday Night Live writer Simon Rich.

He worked on the reconstruction of Benjamin Britten's two-piano arrangement of Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirèsias, which was performed at the 2012 Aldeburgh Festival with Roger Vignoles and Malcolm Martineau playing. He had a twelve-year career as a professional liturgical musician, working across the southern and eastern US, and touring England and France. He served performing arts non-profits throughout the mid-Atlantic and New England regions, holding teaching positions at the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts, Theatre Lab, the Suzuki School of Newton, and Brookline Music School.  He served as Associate Artistic Director of Boston Opera Collaborative, and Executive Director of the New Hampshire Music Festival.

 

Born in Washington, D.C., he graduated from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Southern Mississippi, where he received the Theodore Presser Award. He studied with Luigi Zaninelli, John Heiss, and Daron Hagen.