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samuel beckett's

imagination dead imagine


 text by Samuel Beckett - music by Michael Roth

demo recording and slideshow/trailer of the first 9 minutes of a new music/theatre chamber piece -

work-in-progress for recorded voices, laptop, and string quartet








For more details about the piece, click here.

Thanks to the actors whose voices are featured on the recording:

Marco BarricelliJessica Jean Erwin, Robert Joy, and, from the

Stratford Festival, Geraint Wyn DaviesDion JohnstoneSeana McKennaand Lucy Peacock - to whom I am very grateful. 

For the complete Beckett text, click here.  


For the complete score, click here.


Video is also posted at NEW MUSIC DAILY


And for further information, please contact the composer.

 In IMAGINATION DEAD IMAGINE, the string quartet is the protagonist, 

listening and responding to what they hear - akin to Beckett's KRAPP'S LAST TAPE or EH JOE - 


This is a preliminary demo of a work in progress - with digital strings - 

no ponticello or extended techniques.  Ultimately, the strings will of course be live,

only the voices, playing from the lap top controlled by the quartet, are recorded - 


​The string quartet approaches a laptop on a table. Each player in turn, one at a time,

presses the space bar and hears the recorded line,"No trace anywhere of life," -  

and then each player presses the space bar to stop it. Each member, as they hear the line,

puts on an ear piece (to hear the click track) - and each presses the space bar as often as needed to make sure they hear everything they need to hear (the click and the voices) in order to proceed. 

This is repeated as necessary until everyone is ready.

Finally, a player presses the space bar one last time, and the piece continues on -
the quartet hears the voices as Beckett's text (essentially a description of an object and a set of instructions and directions) - and plays the music that is their response - -


lots of pro tools editing on the voices in the first 8 minutes - click to enlarge

Thanks for listening - and thanks to Mr. Beckett for, among many other things, permission

to compose this piece many years ago.  Details about performances coming soon.

Samuel Beckett on vacation in Morocco, 1978

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