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Jenni is a ‘new classical’ composer, with eclectic and unbounded references to different musics across a number of genres.

A review of a piece titled Spirit Child – The Prelude

Spirit Child – The Prelude
Premiered at St Johns, Smith Square, April 1997, by Lontano ensemble –

Odaline de la Martinez – conductor
Sianed Jones – voice
Dirk Campbell – duduk

Jenni Roditi – music,
Rebecca Swift/Jenni Roditi – libretto

Instrumentation 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, double bass, duduk and percussion.

(Now forms the opening of the full music theatre opera – Spirit Child – Siddhartha).

“There are concerts that make you realise what you’ve been missing. Time after time I’ve sat through evenings of music by young, college-educated composers, admiring the craft, the imagination, and wondering why the final feeling was one of emptiness. Thursday’s Lontano concert provided the answer. Jenni Roditi’s Spirit Child had the energy, the urgency and the directness of expression that so much well-intentioned new music lacks.

Jenni Roditi wrote Spirit Child in response to a documentary about the Chinese oppression of Tibet and the abduction of the boy Panchen Lama in 1995. ” Moved the take action” she writes ” I began to think what I could do to help”. It’s terribly easy to mock such intentions. If you want to change the world, Stalin reputedly said, one well aimed bullet is worth a thousand symphonies. But works of art can change things.
Shostakovich’s Leningrad symphony was a vital war-time moral booster; 10 years after Dicken’s Nicholas Nickleby, the kind of schools satirised as Dotheboys Hall had ceased to exist, such was the outcry the novel caused. I don’t know if Spirit Child will ever melt stony hearts in Beijing, but it certainly melted mine. The ardent lyricism that emerged fitfully in Roditi’s opera Inanna was sustained here. Sianed Jones brought all her hard edged passion to bear on the voice part and Dirk Campbell matched her ululations the Duduk, an Armenian pipe instrument that sounds somewhere between a kazoo and a soprano saxophone. Under their director Odaline de la Martinez, Lontano sounded as though they believed in every note of the piece. They should take it up again, soon.”

Stephen Johnson (The Independent)