• Flute
  • 9 min
  • Shakespeare
  • English

Programme Note

Ophelia Drowning is scored for solo flute and SATB voices. The flute represents Ophelia; the voices are those of the horrified spectators of her death. Their narrative is heard first in a fragmented, hesitant form; then in a slightly fuller version; and finally in its entirety. The aim was to present Ophelia’s state of mind as she approached death, and to underline this with the shock of those who witnessed it – so that they tell the story three times, gradually plucking up courage to fill in the gaps.

Ophelia Drowning is dedicated to Philippa Davies, who gave the first performance on 14 October 1996 at the Purcell Room, London, with the choir Laudibus, conducted by Michael Brewer.

Programme note © 1996 Giles Swayne