Christopher Reid's new collection is a quartet of works for a variety of voices and characters. In 'Professor Winterthorn's Journey', a widowed academic flies across the world to attend a conference on the topic of 'Nonsense and the Pursuit of Futility'. A mordant but confused observer, he eventually finds his way beyond intellectual fiddling to a deeper understanding of his condition.
'The Suit of Mistress Quickly' catches the moment in a rehearsal of Henry IV Part II when the actress playing Quickly triumphantly discovers her true voice.
In 'Airs and Ditties of No Man's Land' - commissioned for the BBC Promenade Concerts of 2011, with music by Colin Matthews - a captain and his sergeant, now skeletons, exchange 'scraps of song and wisps of rhyme' in a sardonic, music-hall flavoured evocation of First World War trench warfare.
Nonsense ends with 'A Salute to the Moonlight', a set of shorter, lyric pieces that celebrate everyday experience. Starting at dawn and ending in the small hours, their lightness of touch and undismayed lucidities contribute to the book's theme of renewal.
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