Ignorant Complicity (2017)
Instrumentation: Alto saxophone and piano
Premiere: St John's Smith Square, London, 28/4/17.
Performed by Alastair Penman and Edward Liddall
Commissioned by the Park Lane Group with funds from the RVW Trust
Ignorant Complicity reflects on the way that, with our everyday choices, we often support industries and ideologies without realising. In particular, the piece focuses on the implications of our food choices. For example, many people consume milk every day without considering how it has been produced; first the cow must be forcefully impregnated, then her baby is taken away so that her milk can be harvested. Many people would be uncomfortable with the cruel reality of this cycle, in which countless calves are slaughtered at birth and cows are kept constantly pregnant; however, by drinking milk, they are unconsciously supporting this cycle.
Ignorant Complicity begins by depicting the horrors of life on a dairy farm, with an incessant atonal motif punctuated with a sinister tune and cries of distress. Through a series of simple changes, however, this morphs into a joyful, dance-like tune, demonstrating how small changes can make a big difference. After a short cadenza, the piece ends with a poignant chorale, offering a chance to reflect upon the every day choices we make and their wider implications.
Alternative version also available for saxophone and tape as recorded on Do You Hear Me?