Plod’s Revenge (1992)

Duration: 5’
For multiple piano and keyboard
Choreography: Rachel Lopez de la Nieta
Workshop performance at Central School of Ballet, May 1992

Feeney has continually encouraged promising students interested in choreography to maximise their opportunities, and choreograph as much as they can while in a safe college environment. To that end he was happy to compose for student choreographers for their annual choreographic showing. In May 1992, he collaborated with the young talented dancer/choreographer, Rachel Lopez de la Nieta, on a piece for three dancers. It was a satirical work, crafted in the wake of the so-called Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992, recording the demise of the friendly policeman that had inhabited the world of Enid Blyton.

So the music is an ABA, travelling from a jolly tune over a vamping piano, with a joke toy laugh hilariously overlaid, via a tense middle section, to a reprise where the laugh is no longer funny and the musical vamp has become grotesque and distorted. The laughing policeman has turned nasty. Fellow musician, the brilliant pianist Richard Herriott, was co-opted for the occasion, and persuaded into sampling his distinctive laugh for use in the piece.

Plod’s Revenge was the subject of a seminar at University of Reading, where Feeney was assistant lecturer until 1995. The intention was to show how dramatic and narrative elements are not just there to enhance the theatricality of a score, but can affect both the structure and content of the music. It clearly works - after the session all the students wanted to see the choreography, the visible music, if you like.