The other Oppenheimer
Jocelyn Pook’s Oppenheimer mixes Robert Oppenheimer invoking the Bhagavad Gita with a recording of the liturgy of the Yemenite Jews and the text of the Catholic requiem mass, all underpinned with violin, viola and and keyboards. The seven minute long Oppenheimer is one of the sections in Flood; this Jocelyn Pook composition dates back to a 1994 commission from the Canadian dance company O Vertigo, but was revised when two sections were used in the composer's score for Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut. John Adams' Doctor Atomic followed in 2005, there is no known connection between the two very different works. Myths and fears about the end of the world provide the narrative for Flood, which draws on Hindu, Christian, Jewish and Islamic sources. This truly universal music now has a terrible relevance which could never have been anticipated when Jocelyn Pook composed it in the mid 1990s. Find audio and video samples, including Oppenheimer, here. Flood is available on a 1999 Virgin Classics CD, and is currently retailing on amazon.co.uk at £4.98 for 55 minutes of thought-provoking music. If you’re feeling lucky, don’t hesitate. The forgotten Lady Atomic is here as well. As are Britten and Stravinsky.
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