Feeney’s Eleven (2000)

Duration 12’
For Piano and pre-recorded track
Choreographed by Sara Matthews
Original choreography: Sara Matthews and Leanne King
First performed as part of the 2000 Ballet Central National tour at the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford

Asked to write a theme and variations for an ambitious project for the Central School of Ballet’s 1999 school show, the composer produced the work that would end up as Feeney’s Eleven. Rather than a cricket team as the title suggests, it is a theme with eleven variations which grows from the simple theme heard against marimba arpeggios at the beginning to a huge climax after an exciting accumulating finale. The variations, quite different from one another, grow in size as the work progresses. So the penultimate variation is a brooding slow movement of a variation in 5/8 which itself has an explosive outburst.

The track was created on the Roland JV1080 and is characterized by, together with the marimba, a breathy flute patch which often carries the melody. The piece starts with a kind of cinematic explosion, which was in all probability a little too synthetic – there were constant attempts to try and improve it, but we were doubtless victims of the technology of the time.

In its first incarnation, the piece was a massive contemporary dance piece for the first and second year students at Central, sections being choreographed alternately by Sara Matthews and Leanne King. This proved impossible to tour, the sheer numbers made it unfeasible. So the piece was re-choreographed by Matthews for Ballet Central, keeping the score exactly the same. In March 2000, the energetic finale was chosen to open the Gala at Sadlers Wells Theatre for founding director, Christopher Gable, who had died eighteen months previously.