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Bram Nolf is oboist of the Belgian National Orchestra and appealed to me about Benjamin Britten's famous Metamorphoses. Musicians sometimes tend to make humorous remarks about compositions, and so in Britten's title 'after Ovid' quickly became 'after Covid.' Which, however, nurtured Nolf the idea of effectively commissioning a new work modelled on Britten's but inspired by the pandemic. So effectively 'after Covid'. To this end, he contacted Danny Devriendt to create a framework analogous to Britten's form but related to the corona theme. Devriendt drew on the main post-covid trends described by IPG/dynamic: hybrid work, virtual learning, social distancing, frontline heroes, digital transformation, and global solidarity. Thus, Devriendt came up with the 6 global post Covid trends:

1. Hybrid Work: Capturing the shift from traditional office work to a blend of remote and in-office work, reflecting the balance and sometimes the dissonance between home and office life.

2. Virtual Learning: Illustrating the challenges and innovations in education as schools and universities move to online platforms.

3. Social Distancing: Expressing the isolation and the new ways people learned to connect while physically apart.

4. Frontline Heroes: A tribute to healthcare workers and other essential workers who faced the pandemic head-on, often at great personal risk.

5. Digital Transformation: Depicting the rapid adoption of digital technologies in various sectors including retail, healthcare, and entertainment.

6. Global Solidarity: Representing the shared experiences of people worldwide, the tragedies and the triumphs, and the sense of a global community united in a common cause.

For each of these 6 trends, he came up with 6 fictional "gods": Terra Flexa, Schola Nova, Iso Latus, Curator Fortis, Techna Virtus and Mundi Spiritus. As in Britten's score, he devised an explanatory, evocative phrase for each "god", which, while giving info in a poetic way, never tells the full story.

1. Hybrid Work à "Terra Flexa": "who dances between screens and dreams, balancing home and horizon."

2. Virtual Learning à "Schola Nova": "who navigates streams of digital wisdom in a quest for enlightenment."

3. Social Distancing à "Iso Latus": "who stretches hands in void, seeking warmth in the cold distance."

4. Frontline Heroes à "Curator Fortis": "who stands steadfast against the unseen foe, healing with hands and heart."

5. Digital Transformation à "Techna Virtus": "who weaves the web of a new world, binding byte to life."

6. Global Solidarity à "Mundi Spiritus": "who, in whispered breaths of unity, kindles the flame of shared destiny.”

This became the basis of this commission where the idea arose to alternately combine Britten's work with my 'version' during the performance. I am an ardent admirer of Britten's works: his approach to tonality is unique and authentic. Without falling into clichés, his music sounds modern yet expressive and he has managed to find a personal style based on this dilated tonality. 

Of course, I have listened through his Metamorphoses, but this has not effectively influenced my composition, nor the idea that the two works could be combined. 

I believe that 'my' Metamorphoses dare to go much further and perhaps go to the extremes of virtuosity, but that they created equally tonal lyrical landscapes that in turn reflect more my personal language. The given 'corona' therefore inspired more of a contrast between the stable and unstable, the certain and uncertain, the tonal and the atonal spectrum.

This new work is also more expansive than Britten's work. It is certainly an option to perform Britten's Metamorphoses bracketed with mine, but this is not explicitly a must. 

Also a physical printed copy is available. No shipping costs will be charged for the digital purchase.

dr. Piet J. Swerts, 20th of January 2024.