En la Tierra (2002), from the ballet, Initiation

Duration: 4’
For piano and pre-recorded track, with Susan Monnox (voice)
Choreographed by Antonio Castilla
Lighting Design: Kieron Doherty
First performed at the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford as part of the 2002 annual Ballet Central tour.

En la Tierra is the last section of the ballet, Initiation, that teacher and choreographer, Antonio Castilla created for the 2002 graduate performing company, Ballet Central. It is ritualistic work, depicting the three elements of water, fire and earth. While the score was an eclectic one drawn from various elements, each section had a folkloristic quality to it. Philip Feeney, when asked to write the music for the final section, chose to add a voice into the mix, writing a meditative song around a gentle harp/guitar continuum. It had a slight medieval meditative ring to it, in part due to the circular repetition of uneven phrases.

The choreographer himself wrote the words, in Spanish, after the score had been completed. The singer chosen to record the song, Susan Monnox, had just the right pure sound, but had no Spanish, and so for the recording session in the basement at Central School of Ballet, a pronuciation guide was provided by both Castilla, and the dancer and teacher Maria del Real who was teaching at Central School of Ballet at the time. The discrepancies between Spanish and Latin American pronunciation proved a further complication!

The synth part was played live, synchronised with the recorded voice on the track. This was just as well, since, on one occasion at Kendal, the minidisc inexplicably stopped of its own accord, and the composer together with the dancers were able to improvise a satisfying, if slightly nerve-racking, end to the piece.