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Beckett into Music

Dwyer has engaged with the Irish writer Samuel Beckett in a series of ongoing projects. Foremost among these is his chamber work, what is the word—triptych with interludes, for prepared guitar, double bass, violin and narrator. As the title suggests, it is a five-movement work and sets three Beckett texts: Neither (the text he wrote for Morten Feldman’s opera of the same title); an excerpt from Worstward Ho, and Beckett’s last poem, what is the word. It
was premiered at the Hugh Lane Gallery on 3 February 2019 with Barry Guy (double bass), Benjamin Dwyer (guitar), Maya Homburger (violin) and actor Barry McGovern. It has since b
een recorded on Diatribe Records with Conor Lovett (Gare St Lazare Ireland): What is the Word – Diatribe Records, which also includes Dwyer's other Beckett-inspired works: five disjecta (after Beckett)  for guitar, and six residua (after Beckett) for violin.

five disjecta (after Beckett) for solo guitar, and six residua (after Beckett) for solo violin both seek to explore in music facets of Beckett’s late work—an aesthetic of impoverishment, semantic deconstruction, and a yearning for silence. This led me into areas exploring techniques often deemed ‘incompatible with art’, employing sounds considered ‘unusable’ by composers, shifting from reliance upon traditional semantic constructions towards methods whereby minute entities are mined for the utmost meaning. Silence-orientated procedures replace conventional motific development. Figurations reappearing in different contexts offer different meanings and perspectives. Established vocabularies are at times abandoned in favour of fractured schemata, deconstructed ‘languages’, gesture-generated sounds, and a host of traditionally rejected sonorities and noises. This film of five disjecta (after Beckett) is directed by Jonathan C. Creasy for Dreamsong Productions.

five disjecta (after Beckett), written and performed by

Benjamin Dwyer in a film by Jonathan C. Creasy

The launch of Diatribe Records CD, What is the Word, performed at the New Music Dublin festival 29 February 2020 at the National Concert Hall Dublin. Featuring Barry Guy (double bass), Maya Homburger (violin), Benjamin Dwyer (guitar, prepared guitar) and Mark D'Aughton (narrator). 

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