• Brian Elias
  • Personal Stereo (1990)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Written for Jane Manning

  • tape
  • 10 min

Programme Note

What do people think about when they ‘listen’ to music on a bus, on the street, while doing the ironing or even in a concert hall?

PERSONAL STEREO was written as a late 50th birthday present for Jane Manning, and is an affectionate tribute to a marvellous performer and good friend whom I have known and admired for 25 years.

In fact, we met at the 1965 Darlington Summer School where Jane performed some of the student music-theatre pieces for Elisabeth Lutyen’s composition workshop. And of course, she gave her first performance of Pierrot Lunaire, unconducted and with Susan Bradshaw’s Vesuvius Ensemble. I remember the performance vividly for its remarkable energy and impact. Sitting next to me was the typical summer school enthusiast, complete with blue-rinse, sandals, jingling yellow plastic jewellery and all. When the performance ended, I applauded so wildly that my puzzled neighbour could not help but follow suit. (Schonberg was then, as now, too radical for some). I turned to her and said ‘That was fantastic - what a wonderful singer’.

‘What a wonderful singer’, she agreed hastily.
‘She’s got perfect pitch, you know’, I continued.
‘Ah yes, perfect perfect.’

I can think of no better description of Jane’s ability, dedication and zeal!

The text for PERSONAL STEREO has been provided by Jane Manning. I am extremely grateful to Glyn Perrin for his invaluable help in making the backing tape and to Simon McBurney for providing the props and directing this performance.

Brian Elias