BLOG: Composer Rosie Langabeer Takes Us Behind the Music of Matthew Neenan’s “Twelve Bells”

This piece is about hope and light, peace and warmth, and that there is also truth in night and darkness.

Twelve Bells, choreographed by Matthew Neenan and with original music by Rosie Langabeer and Tara Middleton, will premiere at Fall Series 2019, Dec. 4-15 alongside Jo Strømgren’s The Moon. Click here for tickets.

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The music begins with a long composition made from live and recorded Tibetan singing bowls, the atmosphere is mysterious, hazy, but also contemplative. We are in a liminal state between sleep and wakefulness. It is early morning.

We hear rain and a slow and melancholic but sweet tune called Inside Out. It has an innocence about it, like something from a children’s storybook. It also has stretches of space at the end of each form that bring to mind a feeling of emptiness after all is said and done.

From there, we hear a static kind or heartbeat and we build that up with the sounds of white and pink noise, filing cabinets and printing machines, steam. It is the sound of the machine of society. The characters have woken up, and the day has begun.

Our following composition features a recording of a phone call in which someone who got a free sample of argon oil is trying to cancel their order but ends up with a lifetime subscription. It’s played out to a moderate walking bass line and jazzy drums from the Fun Machine (our 1973 Baldwin Electric Organ) and sounds played live from a sampler of sirens, voices and customized sounds.

Next is a slow, sad song, Special Day. This song expresses a feeling of wonderful things passing you by.

The show picks up here with a holiday house party scene. It’s a moderately fast bossa nova, again featuring the Baldwin Fun Machine, with a song about dancing the night away. 

From there we go into a slow 12/8, a dreamy song, the lyrics of which are comprised of a mashup of Christmas carol titles. 

After a scene where the dancers play and dance with handbells over a bed of live singing bowls – first in unison in a traditional seeming way, but then developing into a strange and awkward scene of sound and movement.

December follows as a fast jazzish waltz. This piece has a momentum and a hopefulness and expresses the sentiment of just trying to make it through the festive season.

More bells! bells! and big bells and singing bowls and then small tinkly bells and triangles and then the sense of a new day, birds and a two part vocal acapella song called Behold The Light. This piece is about hope and light, peace and warmth, and that there is also truth in night and darkness. 

To see Rosie Langabeer perform her original music in Twelve Bells, click here for tickets.

September 29, 2019