INSPIRED BY BRITTEN'S 'FIVE FLOWER SONGS', ENJOY AN 'IN CONVERSATION' PREVIEW OF A NEW COMPOSITION, 'THE IRIS', BY MARCELLA KEATING AND HARRIET TRUSCOTT
In the language of flowers, the iris is the symbol of courage, wisdom and friendship – so it could not be more appropriate as our college flower. Beyond the glorious iris borders in the garden, you can see it on the suffrage banner, around the buildings, on bookplates, fireplace decorations and of course in the name of our new and already hugely loved café.
‘The Iris’ is a new composition for eight voices by composer Marcella Keating, to lyrics by Harriet Truscott. The piece takes inspiration from Benjamin Britten’s ‘Five Flower Songs’, and portrays four iris species over the course of the four seasons. For the Virtual Festival, Harriet and Marcella will discuss their collaboration and the inspiration behind the work; the full work will be performed live at the 2022 Festival.
About the contributors
MARCELLA KEATING is a second year Music student and composer at Newnham College, originally from East London. Recent projects include ‘two women (both alike in dignity)’, a chamber opera for string orchestra, electronics and four voices. It transforms the letters between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West into a modern and abstract queer love story, and premiered at the Round Church in Cambridge in June 2021. Her latest commissions have been from the Minerva Festival, Sidney Sussex New Music Group, Beethoven250 and the Cambridge University Opera Society. This year, she is proud to have been accepted onto the Young Women’s Composers Collective course in Philadelphia.
HARRIET TRUSCOTT (NC 1996) is a poet, as well as being one of Newnham’s Communications Directors. She was delighted to be invited to write the lyrics for a new flower song for Newnham.
Image credit: Professor Jenny Morton, ‘Newnham College Iris Day, 2018’