"RED" BOOK SYMPHONY: Susannah Self
Validity & Location
Composer Susie Self studied at the Royal College of Music and Cambridge University. She won scholarships from the Royal Society of Arts, The Banff Centre, Canada, and most recently a STEAM scholarship from Birmingham City University to read for a PhD in composition, from where she has now graduated. In 2016 she conducted her opera The Butt based on Will Self’s novel at the Musiktheatertage Festival in Vienna. The British Ambassador invited her and Will to a Q & A.
Susannah conducts The Staithe Singers and the Universal Choir, Norfolk. Past opera productions she has conducted include: The Turn of The Screw, Albert Herring, Suor Angelica, Cosí fan tutte, Carmen, Gianni Schicchi and The Magic Flute. Her conducting teacher is David Parry.
The facsimile of Jung’s cosmos lies ceremoniously open in my studio so that visitors may synchronistically open
a new page. Jung's Universal work presents such densely layered metaphors that his only logical option is at
times to explode into powerful abstract images. Similarly, the mysticism of music provides a non-verbal way to
contextualise the work’s momentous architecture. I have only scratched the surface but I am struck by a core
theme: To thrive psychically we need to engage with the history of the dead. James Hillman and Sonu
Shamdasani discuss this in Lament for the Dead. The Red Book is a wake-up call to change the World rather
than solely our inner lives. Its release just over a decade ago, aptly resonates with the current pandemic and
RED explores a segment of the Liber Secundus through the imagery of an egg with subjects such as: Flood,
The Desert, Descent into Hell in The Future, Murder of The Hero, Mysterium Encounter, The Red One, The
Castle in The Forest, Death and The Opening of The Egg. Compositionally I employ the ‘slice of the cake’
methodology that I used to create my opera The Butt (2016) based on a the multi layered novel by Will Self.
RED is a notated for a Beethoven sized orchestra infused with mysterious installations of abstract sound. In the
plenary I will share my musical responses to The Red Book and the premi re of extracts of RED.
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