Yeneef (2007)

Duration: 6’
for live piano and pre-recorded track
Choreography: Paul Lewis
First performed in the Central School of Ballet Show at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London in July 2006; revised and extended, it was first performed in its final version at the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford as part of the 2007 annual Ballet Central Tour.

Starting life as a bright end of year piece for the second year students at Central School of Ballet in July 2006, Yeneef was then further revised and extended by teacher/choreographer, Paul Lewis, for the forthcoming Ballet Central tour.

Although the piece was designed to showcase the dancers ballet technique, composer, Philip Feeney, was intent on giving an up-to-date electronic feel to the music, without skimping on the melodic quality and its potent harmonic directional drive. This is achieved mainly by the dancing sampled vocal phrase, which opens the piece and recurs frequently throughout it. It is made up a vocal humming motif borrowed from Feeney’s music for Michael Keegan-Dolan’s The Flowerbed, which had just enjoyed a successful London season at the Barbican Pit in its revised version. In The Flowerbed the humming has a haunting ominous quality; for Yeneef it is transformed into a bright, dancey riff full of youthful energy.

The musical style owes something to soundbites that Feeney had recently done for a new production of Peter Pan by Milwaukee Ballet. There is prominent part for both the oboe and the sampled timps. The former operates as a lyrical counterpoint to the sparkling piano part, played live by the composer, whereas the timpani add weight and strength, and occasionally take over completely in a butch muscular, if bombastic, statement of power.

The wit in both the music and the choreography is reflected in the title, which of course is merely the composer’s name backwards. The then principal of Central School of Ballet, Bruce Sansom, thought the title suggested a learned reference to obscure Arabian mythology. Perhaps, it could be both.