THE AFFLICTED GIRL (2010)

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Clt, Perc, Pno, E Guit, Vc, Db
DURATION: 17 Minutes
COMMISSIONED BY THE BANG ON A CAN PEOPLE'S COMMISSIONING FUND
FIRST PERFORMANCE: Merkin Hall, NYC (24-Feb-2010)
Bang On A Can All-Stars

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Composer's Notes  
“And there was 'the afflicted girl –white faced and expressionless' who sat for many years close to the Horse-Shoe of Tottenham Court Road, “oblivious of time and inured to suffering though all the noise and tumult.'”

Peter Ackroyd, London –A Biography

I was very struck by this passage in Peter Ackroyd’s wonderful biography of London. Through the course of writing this piece I returned to it again and again. At first I couldn’t think why I found this image so affecting, but I came to realize that it was due to the idea of listening. I was trying to imagine what would draw someone to sit at one of the noisiest crossroads of one of the biggest cities on earth. Then it occurred to me that perhaps this girl was hearing something, some strange music cloaked inside the sonic fabric of the city’s roar. I tried to imagine what this music might be and then to write it.  This piece is the result of that. In short, I think of “The Afflicted Girl” as the opposite of a pastoral.

— Oscar Bettison