Requested by and dedicated to Darragh Morgan and Mary Dullea
Publisher: Bardic Edition
Score and instrumental part BDE 944
Duration: c. 8 minutes, 45 seconds
First performance: Saturday 26 June 2004; Howard College Theatre, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; Darragh Morgan violin, Mary Dullea piano.
Darragh Morgan’s request for a new piece came about the time I was starting work on my first opera, Looking for Salome (based on Etienne Leroux’s novel Sewe Dae by die Silbersteins), so I decided to make a paraphrase of the first scene, more or less giving the voice parts to the violin and the orchestral parts to the piano. There are roughly three types of material: music associated with the Silberstein family, with the main character Henry in his monologues, and with the ‘Bishopscourt set’. This is prefaced by solo violin music, based on an mbira chord cycle, which then goes on to become the orchestral music. The title is the opening line of the libretto (written by Christine Lucia) and as I recall was also the first thing Darragh Morgan said to me when we met in person in Durban for the first time in 2004. The composition of the opera, and this piece, was made possible through a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pretoria. Do you prefer red or white? is dedicated to Darragh Morgan and Mary Dullea who gave the world premiere in Howard College Theatre, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban on 26 June 2004.