Seth’s forces are currently manifesting themselves in the latest of what he declines to call his filler projects: a poetic collaboration with a composer on ‘a sort of music-theatre piece’ (his words) which will play this summer in three British festivals: Salisbury, Chelsea and Lichfield. He is vague about how it will present because, as he tells me, ‘the music isn’t finished yet, and we’ve still got things to discuss. This was a project that took a while to get off the ground, so everyone’s under pressure.’
What is certain is that the piece is called Songs in Time of War and involves a narrator (Seth himself), a singer (Mark Padmore) and a violinist (Seth’s close friend and dedicatee of An Equal Music, Philippe Honore), with a supporting instrumental ensemble. And the texts are poems by Seth, translated and adapted from the original Chinese of the Tang Dynasty writer Du Fu.